Health Exchange Hits 1,000 Practices

GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids-based health information exchange Great Lakes Health Connect said this week it had hit its goal of 1,000 medical practices using its referrals application, and will soon link 1,000 provider practices to the state’s immunization registry.

This growth comes on the heels of the recent announcement that GLHC has surpassed 1 billion health information transactions annually, making it one of only a few health information exchanges in the country to hit that level.

“Achieving this critical mass of providers and health systems participating in these efforts using the Great Lakes Health Connect network means we can provide secure data connections that are unparalleled in scope,” said GLHC executive director Doug Dietzman. “Ultimately that means better health care for all patients being served by participating providers.”

Robert Steffel, executive director of The Strategic Health Information Exchange Collaborative, the national trade association for health information exchanges, noted the significance of the billion messages achievement.

“Very few health information exchanges in the country have reported transaction volumes that come close to the amount GLHC has now achieved.” Steffel said.  “We are very happy that GLHC is participating in SHIEC and sharing their expertise in the health information exchange arena with others across the country.”

Key to those insights is how health information exchanges can succeed based on member fees, not outside funding.

“With a fully self-sustaining business model – built around providing value to stakeholders and without taxpayer or other grant funding – Great Lakes Health Connect is a beacon leading the way in health data exchange,” said Brian Ahier, director of standards and government affairs at the Salt Lake City, Utah-based health management consultant Medicity. “Over 6.5 million unique individuals’ data are in the network, and the current monthly transaction volumes, representing an annual processing rate of over 1 billion messages per year, is an outstanding accomplishment.”

Added Carrie Strom, network referral manager adt Mercy Health Physician Partners, a Grand Rapids-based network of more than 500 providers: “Great Lakes Health Connect’s Referrals application has allowed Mercy Health Physician Partners to electronically send details and records on each referral, eliminating the need for phone tag. The system has allowed our primary care offices to better track their referrals for follow through, and has given our specialty offices a way to sort and pace their incoming referral volume. The referrals application has become an indispensable tool throughout our
network.”

GLHC, a community-based nonprofit, transmits more than a billion secure messages a year across 126 health systems and nearly 4,000 primary, secondary and allied care provider offices across the state. More at www.gl-hc.org.

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