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MI HIE Hosts Community of Practice to Advance Social Care Data Interoperability

The Michigan HIE has convened eight social care platform vendors, including WellSky and Findhelp, to collaborate on social care data interoperability efforts.

Eight social care platform vendors have formed a Community of Practice (CoP) hosted by Michigan’s state-designated health information exchange (HIE) that aims to improve interoperability for care coordination.

Members of the CoP include Care Advisors, CareConvene, Findhelp, Holon, PCE Systems, Riverstar, Unite Us, and WellSky.

The CoP aims to improve the statewide sharing of social determinants of health data (SDOH), referrals, interventions, and outcomes among social care and healthcare teams.

Initially, the group will focus on creating a path for referral data to flow between platforms. A collective discovery process will include a technical and standards analysis that acknowledges not all community-based organizations will have access to technically sophisticated health IT systems.

“The Community of Practice shares a singular focus and shared mission of improving people’s lives by supporting community-lead systems of care,” Lisa Nicolaou, MiHIN’s Cross Sector Data Program Director, said in a public statement. “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,” Nicolaou added.

Partnerships like the CoP work to provide the groundwork for strategic data governance at a community, state, or national level.

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

The creation of the CoP comes off the momentum of MiHIN’s Interoperable Referrals Pledge.

Earlier this year, the HIE convened vendors CareAdvisors, findhelp, PCE Systems, RiverStar, Unite Us, and WellSky to sign a pledge to enable a more interoperable social care environment.

The pledge has five core principles:

  • Service providers should be able to work within their chosen systems of record
  • Consumers should have access to their own data with full transparency into who will have access to their data if they consent to a service; and service providers commit to not blocking electronic health information (defined as knowingly and unreasonably interfering with information sharing)
  • Service providers commit to the use of open APIs and national standards like the HL7 FHIR Gravity Accelerator
  • Service providers recognize the need for data aggregation from multiple systems to quantify demand and utilization for services to inform policymakers and ensure service quality
  • Service providers support the state-designated entity, statewide HIE, or health data utility to serve as the trusted health data exchange broker to ensure an interoperable ecosystem among the medical, public health, and social care communities

Joanne Jarvi, senior director of outreach and market communications at MiHIN, said that the pledge outlines basic principles that the vendors have in common, including the obvious: wanting to have some marketshare in Michigan.

“What they all need to also have in common is to start to figure out what data is important to what parties, what that data means to each of the parties, and how they are going to get it there,” Jarvi said in a September interview with EHRIntelligence. “What we got with this pledge was a pledge to see that technical infrastructure is supposed to support human infrastructure.”

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