The St. Joseph (Ind.) County Health Department has started a pilot program with South Bend, Ind.-based Michiana Health Information Network to bolster its communicable-disease reporting on both the local and state levels.

Officials said in a news release that the program has already improved time management and workflow for the county through sharing data with MHIN, a health information exchange and healthcare IT company.

“Having access to MHIN has been a big help in our public health nurses’ handling of communicable disease,” said Dr. Thomas Felger, health officer for the St. Joseph County Health Department. “For each case they can save several hours of work by having direct access to the appropriate clinical information.”

Data from MHIN’s 12-year Clinical Data Repository are now available to the county through the program, allowing government officials to pull medical information from a secure online portal. The program could help curtail disease outbreaks, officials said.