AT&T (NYSE: T) is partnering with the American Medical Association to consolidate their healthcare information exchanges.

The strategic alliance will combine the AMA’s physician community portal, Amagine, with AT&T’s Healthcare Community Online, according to a statement from AT&T and the AMA.

The AMA has spent at least $15 million developing the physician portal through its subsidiary Amagine Inc and it has 6,000 subscribers.

The Amagine portal was launched in May 2011 to give physicians comprehensive health IT tools and solutions. Some of those tools include providing physician access to patient history from multiple sources to help them manage all aspects of treatment, managing billing cycles, EMRs, ePrescribing, patient registries, clinical decision support tools, revenue cycle management, patient education, lab ordering, and access to AMA journals.

The move will make the combined HIE more national in scope with a larger customer base. Many of Amagine’s physician practices and societies are based in Michigan, where it was beta tested, and tend to be small or independent. The combined platform hopes to attract larger physician practices as well as hospitals.

AMA will collaborate with AT&T on health IT business strategies for physicians and practices, the statement said.

HIE is the process of making healthcare information more accessible across organizations within a region, community or hospital system. It provides the ability to move clinical information across disparate systems, with the goal of making access and retrieval of patient information more efficient and more cost effective.

The deal makes practical sense since AT&T is a large corporation that could easily move information on a national level while the AMA would be more disposed to understanding the nuances of how physician practices manage patient information. Although smaller, regional hospitals have more to gain from being part of a larger platform, larger hospitals also have been watching the development of healthcare information exchanges.

Bill Hanson, chief medical information officer at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, said, “The federal government has made health information exchange a key priority for ‘meaningful use’ of health information technology, but it has not imposed a ‘one size fits all’ standard. This joint venture between the AMA and AT&T is an example of a partnership between two industries that may result in a sustainable and responsible model for HIE.”

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