Doctors are already required to send immunization records to the State of Michigan. With the new system, the data will arrive in real time with no extra steps for the doctors or hospitals.
The system was launched by a non-profit called Michigan Health Connect. Executive Director Doug Dietzman says eventually the data could travel both ways – so doctors could avoid giving patients shots they don’t need. He outline tetanus as a common example.
"Have you had a tetanus shot in the last five years? Gee I don’t know. Five years is a long time. I don’t remember kind of what happened’ and so you always air on the side of caution in not wanting to get infected now and then you get the shot,” Dietzman said.
He says the system allows providers to order lab work and get results from tests done in other locations.
54 hospitals, 961 medical offices and more than 3,500 individual providers are involved in Michigan Health Connect. The providers are in counties throughout the Lower Peninsula. The idea is to facilitate more timely and accurate submission of the required data. Dietzman says the data is secure.
Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo says the system will allow the state "to see trends in public health with more extensive data than before."