When and Why We Share Your Health Information

Why does Michigan Medicine share my health information?

Michigan Medicine shares your health information with persons and organizations outside our health system in different ways and for various reasons, to benefit your health care and management. For example, if you have a test at one health system, electronic data sharing allows a doctor at another health system to access that information. This prevents duplicate tests being done. No matter where you are treated, sharing your health information, whether on paper, verbally or through a secure electronic exchange ensures all your providers have timely access to your complete medical history. 

Your information may also be shared electronically for other purposes such as payment, health care operations, educational or research purposes. In many cases, your approval is required before your health information is shared. At Michigan Medicine, we are committed to protecting the privacy of your health information. To learn more about how we use and disclose your health information and when your authorization is required for certain disclosures, read our Notice of Privacy Practices on the Protecting Your Privacy page. Also, you can learn more information from this video explaining health information sharing.

What information is shared electronically?

Health Care providers outside our health system can electronically access your clinical documents including:

  • Discharge summaries
  • Diagnostic test results
  • Laboratory results
  • Consultation notes
  • Progress notes
  • Medications
  • Surgical history
  • Immunizations
  • Allergies
  • Demographic information, such as age, race, sex etc.

External health care providers are not able to access information about services or care concerning substance abuse or certain communicable diseases (HIV/AIDS) without your approval.  Approval from you or an Institutional Review Board is also needed in order to share health information for purposes of research.

How is my information shared electronically?

In general, your information is shared electronically using three different technologies:

  1. Health Information Exchange, or “HIE” - Michigan Medicine participates in a Health Information Exchange Program through Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC). This state-wide HIE includes over 80% of Michigan hospitals and numerous medical providers throughout the state. 
  2. Care Everywhere® - Another Health Information Exchange system for sharing patient information between hospitals that use the same medical record system. Examples of hospitals that connect through Care Everywhere® with  Michigan Medicine include Beaumont Health System, Henry Ford Health System, Spectrum Health, Sparrow Hospital and Cleveland Clinic.  But, there are numerous hospitals across the nation that can connect through this system.
  3. Michigan Medicine Provider Portal - A secure website that enables doctors who regularly coordinate care with Michigan Medicine providers to electronically access the Michigan Medicine medical records of their patients.  

Also, you can always electronically access your own health information through the Michigan Medicine Patient Portal (called MyChart®) at www.myUofMHealth.org.

Who has access to my health information in these electronic exchange formats?

In most cases, only health care providers who have been directly involved in your care are able to securely access your information, and those providers must sign an agreement to access your health information using one (or more) of the three different technologies mentioned above.

The people who have access to your electronic information are no different than the people who used to and can still access or receive your information from Michigan Medicine in paper form (such as through U.S. Mail or by fax) or verbally (over the phone or in person conversation with Michigan Medicine providers.) 

How is my information protected?

When your health information is shared, whether on paper, verbally and/or electronically, every provider involved must follow Federal and state laws to protect the privacy and security of your health information, including electronic health information.

Can I opt out of all these Electronic Data Exchange Technologies?

Your ability to opt out of electronic data exchange is limited, as explained below.

Can I opt out of Health Information Exchange (HIE)?

Yes. Under Federal law, you have the right to opt out of participating in a Health Information Exchange. You will need to complete and return the HIE’s Opt Out Form, and either have your doctor or Michigan Medicine Health Information Exchange Support Unit staff verify your identity.  If you opt out, you also have the right to opt back in at any time. 

To opt out of the Great Lakes Health Connect HIE or to locate this HIE’s Opt Out form, please visit the Great Lakes Health Connect Opt In or Opt Out page. 

To opt out of the Care Everywhere Health Information Exchange, or if you need assistance with the Opt Out for Great Lakes Health Connect process, please contact:

Health Information Management
Health Information Exchange (HIE) Unit
2901 Hubbard Road, #2722
Ann Arbor, Michigan  48109-2435
Phone: (734) 615-0872
Fax: (734) 998-0105
HIM-HIE-Support-Unit@med.umich.edu

Can I “opt out” of Care Everywhere® or the UMHS Provider Portal?

No.  If you have an appointment scheduled with an external provider that is able to access Michigan Medicine medical records through the Michigan Medicine Provider Portal, he or she will be able to search your clinical health information such as test results and discharge summaries - but you can refuse to sign the authorization for access to your sensitive medical records regarding substance use and/or HIV/AIDS status, which will limit their access except for emergency situations.

Can other health care providers who are not on my treatment team view my health information through these electronic data sharing systems?

No, except in emergency situations.  Only providers who are listed as members of your Care Team on the Michigan Medicine Provider Portal can access your Michigan Medicine medical record.  In Care Everywhere®, or Great Lakes Health Connect, a provider must certify that he or she is directly involved in your care or that there is an emergency situation.

What about my records with sensitive health information?  Can my external doctor see those without my consent?

No, except in emergency situations.  Your external doctor cannot access your substance use disorder treatment or HIV/AIDS status or any other “sensitive” health information without your express written authorization, except in emergency situations.

What if I don’t want my Primary Care Physician (PCP) to view certain information from my visit to UMHS?

If your external PCP “of record” participates in the Michigan Medicine Provider Portal, we cannot “block” them from viewing other portions of your record.  If you no longer wish for an external PCP to be involved in your care, you may have him or her removed as your PCP “of record” by calling Michigan Medicine Registration at 866-452-9896 or e-mail Registration@med.umich.edu.

Who do I call if I have questions?

If you have any questions about any of the Health Information Exchange services offered by Michigan Medicine please contact:

Michigan Medicine Health Information Management,
Health Information Exchange Team
2901 Hubbard Rd #2722
Ann Arbor, Michigan  48109-2435
Phone: 734-615-0872
Email: HIM-HIE-Support-Unit@med.umich.edu