When and Why We Share Your Health Information

Why does University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) share my health information?

UMHS 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 most cases, your approval is required before your health information is shared. At UMHS, we are committed to protecting the privacy of your health information. To learn more about how we use and disclose your health information, 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 mental health, 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” - UMHS 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® - A system for sharing patient information between hospitals that use the same medical record system. Examples of hospitals that connect through Care Everywhere® with UMHS 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. UMHS Provider Portal - A secure website that enables doctors who regularly coordinate care with UMHS providers to electronically access the UMHS medical records of their patients.  

Also, you can always electronically access your own health information through the UMHS Patient Portal 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 UMHS in paper form (such as through U.S. Mail or by fax) or verbally (over the phone or in person conversation with UMHS 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 the Health Information Exchange. You will need to complete and return the HIE’s Opt Out Form, and either have your doctor or UMHS 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.  For more information, or to locate the HIE Opt Out form, please visit the Great Lakes Health Connect Opt In or Opt Out page : 

If you need assistance with the Opt Out 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

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 UMHS medical records through Care Everywhere® or through the UMHS 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 such as mental health care, substance abuse and/or HIV/AIDS status.

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

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

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

No.  Your external doctor cannot access your mental health, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS status or any other “sensitive” health information without your express written authorization.

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 UMHS 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 UMHS 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 UMHS please contact:

UMHS 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