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iSpecimen and Great Lakes Health Connect Announce Collaboration to Drive Medical Research

The agreement will drive medical innovation by making human biospecimens and associated data from within the GLHC network available to research program

by iSpecimen
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Lexington, Mass. – iSpecimen®, a trusted source of customized human biospecimen collections, today (Nov. 3) announced an agreement with Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC), Michigan’s leading health information exchange (HIE). This agreement will drive medical innovation by making human biospecimens and associated data from within the GLHC network available to research programs. With 129 hospital participants as well as 4,000 primary, specialty, and allied care organization members, GLHC participants manage more than 90 percent of the hospital beds in the state and over seven million individual patient records.  

As medical research questions proliferate, particularly with the hot pursuit of precision medicine, scientists are increasingly in need of customized human biospecimen collections that match specific research criteria, across variables such as patient demographics, disease states, treatment histories, and genomic profiles. The new program will leverage the data consolidation made possible by an HIE model, with iSpecimen technology scanning the electronic medical records (EMRs) of participating GLHC institutions for remnant specimens (specimens that are leftover once clinical testing is complete) that meet researcher requests. When matches are made, specimens and associated data may be repurposed into research in accordance with patient consent. All specimens and data will be de-identified as per the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

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“The goal of an HIE is first and foremost to assist in the coordination of patient care by providing access to clinical information where and when it’s needed,” said Doug Dietzman, executive director of GLHC. “But we also recognize great value for other applications in having access to this data. We support the secure sharing of information that will improve healthcare in other ways. The collaboration with iSpecimen supports our focus of creating care-connected communities, while directly advancing medical innovation and care through improved diagnostics and therapies. The upside is tremendous.” 

GLHC is the second HIE to collaborate with iSpecimen in this manner, with the Delaware Health Information Network joining forces with iSpecimen approximately one year ago. 

“We are really excited to announce the new collaboration with GLHC,” said Christopher Ianelli MD, PhD, CEO, at iSpecimen. “GLHC is one of the largest HIEs in the country committed to coordinating and enhancing patient care through data-exchange. With this agreement, they now join the ranks of forward-thinking organizations sharing their access to data and information for the improvement of medical research.”