Michigan vendors collaborate on HIE-enabled SDOH interoperability

Hosted by the non-profit Michigan Health Information Network (MiHIN), the statewide health information exchange, the new collaborative Community of Practice is focused on creating a path for referral data to flow interoperably between platforms. 


Eight platform vendors serving healthcare and social organizations in Michigan have started working on strategic data governance to create a trusted mechanism, with appropriate guardrails, to facilitate healthcare information exchanges that improve whole-person care coordination. 

The Community of Practice seeks to aid the HIE in eliminating information silos. The CoP’s initial focus is on creating the path for referral data to flow interoperably between platforms to support a shared mission of supporting community-led systems of care.

“Advancing the use and interoperability of social care data is foundational to improving the health and well-being of all individuals and communities,” said Dr. Tim Pletcher, DHA, MiHIN’s executive director. 

“MiHIN is so proud to be convening a group of social care leaders who not only recognize the gap between services needed and services provided but are dedicated to closing the loop and sharing meaningful data freely.”

One challenge the collaborators will tackle is data flow with some of the social care organization systems that challenge technically feasibility.

Care Advisors, Findhelp, PCE Systems, Riverstar, Unite Us and WellSky, which previously pledged mutual collaboration to facilitate data aggregation to inform state policies and review quality, were joined by CareConvene and Holon to form the CoP. 

While Michigan’s HIE will serve as the trusted health data exchange broker, service providers can use or maintain the electronic health records system of their choice.


The partnership is expected to equip participating Michigan hospitals with unprecedented context on emergency department patients at the point of care, according to the collaborators’ initial pledge. 

Having information when a patient arrives at the emergency room is a barrier to coordinated care and improving outcomes. The data silos of public health that are disconnected from state health exchanges became glaringly apparent during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic with the lack of interoperability between the Centers for Disease Control and the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.

“If a doctor orders a COVID-19 lab test on one of their patients, the doctor would get the lab result and it would be sent to the NNDSS system. But if that patient later developed worsening symptoms and ended up in the emergency room, those doctors would not have access to the lab results unless both the original provider and hospital were connected to the HIE,” wrote Michael Gagnon, executive director of HealthHIE Nevada, in May 2020 for Healthcare IT News.

Gagnon cautioned that if investments in public health resulted in bigger silos of health information, “we will have missed the mark on really improving our healthcare system.” 

He called for investing in interoperability that connects all providers, hospitals, nursing homes, insurance companies, state and local governments, public health and patients who need access to medical records – through HIEs.

MiHIN seems to be organizing in that direction. In September, the Great Lakes State’s health exchange also announced it is pursuing interoperability for post-acute care through a partnership with cloud-based PointClickCare. 


“Each respective organization is committing considerable time, energy and human capacity for public benefit. In the same way that trust must be facilitated between patient and provider to adequately and accurately capture the whole picture of a person’s health, so is the CoP working to foster trust between health and social care provider organizations, and between themselves as businesses in a competitive and currently unregulated space.” said Lisa Nicolaou, MiHIN’s Cross Sector Data Program Director

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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