Written by: Brian Mack
University of Michigan

The School of Public Health at the University of Michigan (UM) has announced the results of a study that examines the impact of real-time electronic access to patient health records for Emergency Department physicians at the point of care. The study, “Health information exchange associated with improved emergency department care through faster accessing of patient information from outside organizations” was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association in August 2016.  This research conclusively demonstrates that real-time electronic access to patient information at the point of care allows physicians to make informed clinical decisions faster; thus decreasing the length of stay and reducing unnecessary and/or duplicative testing. This increased efficiency translates to more seamless care, improved outcomes, and lower healthcare costs.

This is good news for Michigan healthcare providers who use the GLHC Virtual Integrated Patient Record (VIPR). VIPR is a community-wide, longitudinal repository specific to the GLHC network. It contains statewide information unique to the patient from contributing organizations; like lab, radiology, pathology, ADT, and transcribed documents. These records can be accessed through a secure web viewer or from an organization’s electronic medical record system.

The UM study, conducted over one year, used information from 4,451 emergency department visits. The researchers compared the response for patients whose information could be accessed electronically through the EPIC EHR Care Everywhere platform, to those who had to wait for information to be faxed by other providers. They acknowledge that Care Everywhere is only used in about 20% of healthcare systems nationwide, and that the challenge is in ensuring that information exchange is more widespread.

GLHC connects 129 health systems and nearly 4,000 primary, specialty, and allied care provider offices across the state, regardless of their vendor. This connectivity offers those providers real-time electronic access to over 7 million individual patient records.


Everson, J., Kocher, K. E., & Adler-Milstein, J. (2016). Health information exchange associated with improved emergency department care through faster accessing of patient information from outside organizations. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, ocw116.

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