Getty Images/iStockphoto

ONC Awards MI HIE Funding to Fuel Patient Data Exchange

Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services will leverage ONC funding to improve patient data exchange between immunization information systems and the health information exchange.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has awarded funding to the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN), a nonprofit Michigan health information exchange (HIE), to boost patient data exchange during COVID-19, according to an emailed press release.

Each member of the Strengthening the Technical Advancement and Readiness of Public Health Agencies via Health Information Exchange (STAR HIE) Program aims to improve patient data sharing between HIEs and immunization information systems (IISs). Subsequently, the associated public health agencies can exchange, access, and use critical patient data during public health emergencies, such as COVID-19. 

MIHIN is one of 20 HIEs across the country that received the ONC STAR HIE Program Cooperative Agreement through funding from the CARES Act.

 “We are thrilled to be recipients of ONC STAR HIE Program,” Tim Pletcher, DHA, executive director of MiHIN, said in the emailed statement.

“MiHIN is doing important work throughout Michigan and this funding will allow us to make an even more meaningful impact both in metro Detroit and throughout the state by supporting the exchange of health information, making valuable data available at the point of care, and getting more people immunized.” 

MiHIN will leverage the funding to track vaccination progress, help clinicians track high-risk patients, identify patients who need the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and provide analytics to gauge vaccination outcomes.

The capability to connect every individual patient who has received the vaccine with all of their clinical data could offer additional, comprehensive insights into any adverse events and long-term health outcomes than is currently possible.

“Since last March, MiHIN has been invaluable to Detroit's COVID-19 response, thanks to its collection, management, and sharing of the data we need to effectively operate our regional testing site, which has been cited as being one of the best-run sites in the nation,” said Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan.

Accurate patient data and acceptable data exchange are both essential to deploying an effective vaccine strategy. Depending on the vaccine maker, providers must know if a patient has received one or two vaccinations to coordinate an effective rollout.

Additionally, accurate patient matching ensures the correct patient will get the correct vaccine, and the individual will receive two doses in the case of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. This relies on providers, public health officials, and pharmacists having access to patient data, including vaccine records from databases.

“With this additional funding, MiHIN will be able to assist us with data management associated with our program to vaccinate and protect Detroiters against this terrible virus,” Duggan concluded. “We are deeply appreciative to MiHIN for its ongoing partnership and support.”

Through the STAR HIE program, HHS and ONC allocated roughly $20 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act, which went into effect in March 2020, aimed to support the country’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

“These CARES Act funds will allow clinicians to better access information about their patients from their community immunization registries by using the resources of their local health information exchanges,” Don Rucker, MD, former national coordinator for health information technology, said in January.

“Through these collaborative efforts public health agencies and clinicians will be better equipped to more effectively administer immunizations to at-risk patients, understand adverse events, and better track long-term health outcomes as more Americans are vaccinated.”

Next Steps

Dig Deeper on Interoperability in healthcare

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing