Are you tired of carrying around a binder or folder of your medical records when seeking treatment with a variety of providers? Do you have to tell the same incident or accident story over and over for you or a loved one? When you are sick or have a medical emergency, Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) understands the importance of making sure that the medical providers have all of the information they need to make the right medical decisions on your behalf. With GLHC, you can be sure that participating providers and healthcare organizations involved in your care have real-time access to your medical records, providing you with the right care, at the right time.
Q. Who is Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC)?
GLHC is the leading and largest Health Information Exchange (HIE) in Michigan. We are committed to improving the quality and efficiency of patient care by making your health information available to healthcare providers throughout Michigan when they need it.
Q. What is Health Information Exchange (HIE)?
Patients receive medical care from a variety of providers and organizations; including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and home care agencies. Each provider entity records your health information; which medications you are taking, what tests you have had, your health history, and more. That information is typically only available from within that one organization. If the next time you seek care it’s at a different organization, those providers normally have to manually request your records. This takes time. In the meantime, the healthcare providers don’t have your full health history and information to help make the best decisions about your care.
If healthcare providers could share information with one another faster and more efficiently, they could provide you with better care – especially in an emergency situation. Giving providers involved in your care a better picture of your medical history, prior treatments, test results, and allergies helps them make the most accurate diagnosis and provide the best treatment every time you need care.
Q. How can GLHC improve the care I receive?
Emergency Care: During those frightening times when you are unable to speak for yourself, GLHC helps your care team access the information they need to make the best decisions about your treatment. Accessing medical history through GLHC saves time and leads to faster, more appropriate decision making that saves lives. You can also have a medical professional upload your Advance Care Directive and Power of Attorney document into GLHC, so that your wishes are known when you can’t speak for yourself.
Quality: With more complete, up-to-date information available, participating providers with GLHC will be better able to provide you with the right treatments and services. As more providers are submitting health information into GLHC, in time you won’t have to carry your records around with you to appointments and you won’t have to request your records, which can be confusing and time intensive.
Efficiency: Since your healthcare team will be able to view health reports from other facilities, you may not have to take the same tests again. You may also not need to repeat giving drug and medical information to multiple Participating Providers.
Q. How do providers get access to my medical records?
Many of your test results and reports are sent electronically to your treating provider. Your records can also be accessed through a web portal or through the facilities electronic medical record system. They are stored in the GLHC state-wide longitudinal health record system.
Q. Who can access and share my health information?
Access to your health information through GLHC is secure and is limited to the healthcare providers in Michigan who are specifically involved in your care.
Q. What type of health information can be accessed through GLHC?
Information accessed through GLHC typically includes lab and radiology results as well as medical summary reports. GLHC does not store sensitive information that is specifically protected by law. These exclusions cover but may not be limited to, substance abuse records and psychotherapy notes.
Q. Where does my health information come from?
Your health information comes from your healthcare providers and their organizations. GLHC only receives information when the organization is a GLHC participant. Organizations, and the information they contribute to the Community Health Record, can be found on the GLHC website. Other related documents, like Advance Care Directives, can also be contributed to GLHC. Learn more about our Patient Care Document service on the GLHC website.
Q. How does GLHC keep my health information safe?
Your health information is private and personal; we understand that and take extra precaution to keep it protected and secure. GLHC is one of the very few HIE’s in the country to be certified through the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) regarding security of patient information. GLHC and all of our participating providers comply with State and Federal privacy and confidentiality laws. GLHC employs several layers of safeguards to prevent your health information from being accessed or obtained by unauthorized individuals or entities.
Q. Can I see my own health information and records stored by GLHC?
GLHC does not provide individuals access to this health care record. It is designed to support and serve the provider and care organizations. However, many healthcare entities have portal systems that allow patients to view their health information.
Q. What if my health information is incorrect?
Should an error be found in your health information record, GLHC will direct you to the healthcare entity that submitted the record. They can assist you in having the information corrected.
Q. Can I choose not to share my health information?
You CAN elect to opt out of participating with GLHC. This means that no health care providers will be able to access your health information electronically through GLHC.
When you opt out of participation in the HIE, doctors and nurses will not be able to search for your health information through the HIE to use while treating you. However, your healthcare providers will still be able to select the HIE as a way to receive your lab results, radiology reports, and other data sent directly to them that they may have previously received by fax, mail, or other electronic communications. Public health reporting, in accordance with law such as the reporting of infectious diseases to public health officials, will also occur through the HIE after you decide to opt out.
If you would like to opt out, ask your health care provider to send us your completed form – Great Lakes Health Connect Participation Change Form, click GLHC Opt Out Form
Q. How can I get more information about health information exchange or about GLHC?
If you have a question about how your healthcare providers are using heath information exchange, ask to speak with their Privacy or Security Officer.