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MiHIN Health IT Partnership Tackles SDOH Referral Interoperability

Michigan’s HIE has partnered with two health IT vendors in efforts to improve social determinants of health (SDOH) referral interoperability.

Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN) has announced a health IT collaboration that aims to enhance interoperability for social determinants of health (SDOH) referrals.

MiHIN will collaborate with health IT vendors Velatura Public Benefit Corporation and findhelp to provide a secure platform to connect patients with the social services they need.

In particular, the collaboration will establish a national health information exchange (HIE) portal and advance shared application programming interfaces (APIs) for interoperable referrals. 

Research shows that SDOH such as lack of adequate housing, food insecurity, and mental health can negatively impact healthcare outcomes up to three times as much as medical care alone.

“We are excited to add to the community of organizations interested in enabling truly interoperable referrals,” Tim Pletcher, DHA, executive director of MiHIN, said in a public statement.

"We want to reaffirm that, as always, when MiHIN offers tools to ensure those with limited resources have access to basic functionality at low or no cost, we remain fully committed to fostering a multi-vendor interoperable ecosystem with open APIs and standardized use cases to ensure data can be shared across the state and nationally,” Pletcher continued.

The partnership will encourage vendors providing platforms to social care and community-based organizations to advance interoperability and subscribe to five core principles:

  • Vendors should be committed to the use of open APIs and national standards, such as HL7 FHIR Gravity Accelerator.
  • Health IT vendors should recognize of the need for data aggregation from multiple systems sectors to quantify utilization for services and ensure service quality.
  • Service providers should be able to work within their chosen record systems.
  • Consumers should have access to their data and full transparency into who will have access to their data if they consent to a service.
  • Vendors should support the state designated entity, statewide HIE, or health data utility to ensure an interoperable ecosystem among the medical, public health, and social care communities.

“Current solutions to address unmet social needs remain disconnected by the lack of interoperability in this space and instead function as disjointed proprietary silos that inhibit whole person care,” said Marty Woodruff, COO of MiHIN. “Interoperable social care data is a critical element for holistic treatment of individuals and populations, where neither people, nor data, is bound by systems or geography.”

“MiHIN remains committed to the concept of vendor neutral health data interoperability and in seeking partners steadfast to these principles We’re proud to be partnering with Velatura and findhelp to usher in a new era of whole person care and advance social care interoperability in Michigan,” Woodruff added.

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