MiHIN, findhelp Partner on Interoperable CBO Referrals

Dec. 2, 2021
Michigan HIE describes interoperable social care data as critical element for holistic treatment of individuals and populations

Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN) is partnering with findhelp (formerly known as Aunt Bertha) to establish a national health information exchange (HIE) portal, advance shared application programming interfaces (APIs) and provide a pathway to interoperable referrals to community-based organizations.

Also part of the partnership is Velatura, a wholly owned subsidiary of MiHIN that provides MiHIN solutions to organizations throughout the United States to help them share electronic information. The nonprofit MiHIN is Michigan’s state-designated entity to improve healthcare quality, efficiency, and patient safety by sharing electronic health information statewide.

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

The partnership said it would encourage vendors providing platforms to social care and community-based organizations to equally commit to eliminating health data silos and subscribe to five core principles supporting this mission:

Service providers should be able to work within their chosen systems of record;

Consumers should have access to their own data and full transparency into who will have access to their data if they consent to a service;

A commitment to the use of national standards (e.g., HL7 FHIR Gravity Accelerator) and open APIs;

• Recognition of the need for that data aggregation from multiple systems sectors is necessary to quantify demand and utilization for services, to ensure service quality and inform policy makers provide information to better steward scarce resources; and

Support for the state-designated entity, statewide HIE, or health data utility to serve as the trusted broker to ensure an interoperable ecosystem among the medical, public health, and social care communities.

Marty Woodruff, chief operating officer of MiHIN, described current solutions to address unmet social needs as disconnected by the lack of interoperability in this space. In a statement, he said they instead “function as disjointed proprietary silos that inhibit whole-person care. 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.”

MiHIN said its participation in this collaboration provides the opportunity for those organizations inside Michigan that are already using findhelp and collaborate through the MiHIN Use Case Factory to share data formally and legally with the broader Michigan community.

“Findhelp began with a simple idea—that every person and family should be able to find help with dignity and ease,” said Erine Gray, findhelp’s founder and CEO, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with MiHIN and Velatura to advance interoperability and connect people with the social care services that they need and deserve.”

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