North Ottawa and Mecosta County Link to Michigan Health Connect
Jan 23, 2013 – PETE DALY – North Ottawa Community Health System in Grand Haven and Mecosta County Medical Center in Big Rapids have joined Michigan Health Connect, a secure electronic network of patient records. Michigan Health Connect is the state’s largest health information exchange, and the two hospitals can send patients’ health records and reports through the electronic network that includes 57 other hospitals, 1,551 medical offices and more than 7,000 individual health care providers statewide.
In Grand Haven, the North Ottawa system will be connecting to dozens of physicians in the community. “Patients today see more than one physician, often in various locations,” said Joe Abbott, director of information systems at North Ottawa. “Michigan Health Connect ensures that no matter where our patients seek care — whether inside our continuum of care in Grand Haven or beyond — their health record can be accessed.”
Mecosta County Medical Center is using the system to connect its hospital offices with its long-term care facility. “For older patients and those with debilitating chronic conditions, it’s vital to transfer their complete medical records as fast as possible,” said Mike Miller, director of information technology at the Mecosta County Medical Center.
Michigan Health Connect was founded in Grand Rapids in 2009 by Spectrum Health, Trinity Health and Metro Health. It is a nationally recognized, community based nonprofit organization. “Connectivity is essential to make the health care system in Michigan work more effectively and more efficiently for patients and providers,” said Doug Dietzman, executive director of Michigan Health Connect. “When health care providers receive timely, complete patient information, they can deliver better care as cost-effectively as possible.” Read the article here.
Modern Health Records
Jan 19, 2013 – KRYSTLE WAGNER – The North Ottawa Community Health System recently joined Michigan Health Connect, a health information exchange provider that presently connects 57 hospitals, 1,551 medical offices and more than 7,000 individual health care providers throughout the state. Jen VanSkiver, spokeswoman for the North Ottawa Community Health System, said the initiative will increase efficiency and security, and relieve stress for patients who see more than one physician and oftentimes will need to repeat information. “This is definitely an improvement,” she said.
Prior to using Michigan Health Connect, test results sent to a physician’s office would be placed into a paper file or scanned into an electronic medical record. VanSkiver said Michigan Health Connect is a more efficient mode of transmitting such information. “It means doctors will get results almost instantaneously,” said Joe Abbott, director of information systems for the North Ottawa Community Health System.
The first phase of the new service will allow test results and medical records from hospitals be sent to primary care physicians. Abbott said they plan to have that up and running in the spring. The next step would allow physicians to send orders — such as requesting patients have laboratory tests or other services completed — to the hospital. Down the road, another step in the process includes a virtual patient record service that would allow a patient’s entire medical history to be accessed by any Michigan Health Connect member.
Although the information will be available electronically, Abbott said the system is safe and provides confidentiality by requiring authenticating user log-ins in a secure site. “Security is an underlying principle concern,” he assured. Read the article here.
Program Aims to Connect Doctor Offices
In a recent blog, “Health care technology in my community,” Stork discusses Michigan Health Connect, and proudly boasts that West Shore Urology (where he practices) is one of the first offices in the state to use the referral product.
“For years, physicians and patients in our Michigan community struggled with the medical referral process,” Stork wrote. “Primary care physicians and their patients were frustrated by the amount of time it took to get appointments with specialty physicians. Specialty offices were waiting, sometimes for weeks, to get appropriate past medical history, lab and X-ray reports prior to scheduling patient appointments. The process was an inefficient one that everyone had slowly come to accept.”
Stork said three large hospitals in the state joined forces to create the nonprofit regional health information organization called Michigan Health Connect.
“Once established, one of the first orders of business for MHC was to create a referral management solution,” he noted. Read the full article here.
A Conversation with Doug Dietzman about Michigan Health Connect
Genesys Health System’s Vision Would Create Thousands of Genesee County Jobs
January 14, 2013 – GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, MI – Genesys Health System officials have big plans for the future that include millions of dollars in new construction and thousands of new jobs. A 25-year vision for the health campus in Grand Blanc Township includes up to $50 million in new facilities, an electronic medical records system and creation of new models of health care. Over the next 10 years, officials hope to create more than 4,200 jobs from construction work and an additional 4,000 employees working at facilities within the health park. The roughly 500-acre health park would become a health corridor, welcoming research and product development and placing a strong emphasis on care for the elderly.
Genesys’ improvements and additions will not just benefit the health system and the Grand Blanc area, said Nicholas Evans, vice president of business development at Genesys. It’s a vision that will benefit the entire county.
“Four thousand jobs is a significant bounce in any community,” Evans said. “Everyone is waiting for someone to take a leadership role.”
The vision, which officials began drafting in 2007, was made for 25 years to create a long-term framework for how to re-evaluate health care, said Genesys President and CEO Elizabeth Aderholdt. Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Micki Hoffman said these plans are great ways to keep college students in the area and bring more people in from other places.
“Health services is the biggest job growth area in the United States right now. And the opportunity to be in the middle of it and see the opportunities for people to come here and stay here is outstanding,” Hoffman said. “We have such an opportunity here to move forward. This is just one part of a very big part for Grand Blanc, but it’s a good thing for the entire county.”
The first step in the plan is to create an electronic medical records system for all inpatients in Genesys. Phase one of the implementation will cost $6.2 million and phase two will cost $6 million. In roughly 18 months, all inpatients staying at Genesys will have their medical records kept electronically. The transition, which has already taken place at Hurley Medical Center, McLaren-Flint and partially at Genesys, will allow doctors and other health care workers easier access to patient history, reduce redundancy in tests and treatments and create a safer health care experience, officials said.
At Genesys, nurses can take a Workstation on Wheels to each room and immediately access the patient records. And when Genesys’ implementation is complete, there will be a much greater benefit to the entire county. All three hospitals will be able to share records, although they will be limited at first, said Dr. Michael Roebuck, Chief Medical Information Officer at Hurley Medical Center. In 18 months, the three health systems should be able to share some information, such as lab results and X-ray results. With all three hospitals being members of Michigan Health Connect, a health information exchange system, the data will be sent in and translated for all three hospitals – and eventually primary care providers – to read. It will still be about three to five years before all information will be shared, Roebuck said.
“At least we are jumping in and doing something. It won’t be perfect and we will improve it as we go. … In the final version, it will be really cool for the county and the care we can provide for the county,” he said. “In the future, I can just do a couple of clicks and I can get access and give (patients) better care.”
Within the next three to four years, Genesys staff –hospital personnel and primary care providers – also want to also be on the same page when it comes to how they treat patients. Clinical pathways will be created by teams of physicians so a patient will be given the same treatments whether seen by a primary care provider, a specialist or someone at the hospital. There are already guidelines spelled out for chronic heart failure, wound care and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“It really is kind of breakthrough (care),” Aderholdt said, adding that it helps eliminate personal bias on treatment decisions. “Everybody agrees to the same clinical pathways. … Doctors are working as a team.” Read the full article here.
E-Notification System Aims to Improve Health Care Efficiency
January 6, 2013 – A pilot project between Spectrum Health and the regional health information exchange Michigan Health Connect looks to cut costly hospital readmission rates. Under the pilot, Michigan Health Connect will electronically notify care managers and patients’ personal physicians when they are admitted to or discharged from a Spectrum Health hospital. Providing them such real-time information allows care providers outside of the Spectrum system to more quickly become involved in managing treatment for a patient while they are in the hospital and their post-hospital care after they return home.
The timely notifications “help ensure that patients discharged by Spectrum Health hospitals receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place, so they can stay healthy and avoid return trips to the hospital,” said Dr. Michael Kramer, senior vice president and chief quality officer for Spectrum Health. “We’re in the business of keeping people healthy, and this solution helps us do that.”
A patient’s personal physician office quite often doesn’t get notified immediately on an admission or discharge, even if the physician office has electronic health records. The pilot seeks to change that so physicians can follow up immediately with their patients.
The pilot builds on the electronic connections that Michigan Health Connect provides care providers to easily transmit patient data and records as they receive treatment and get referred from one physician to another and move through the health care system.
“We’re trying to figure out how to do as much as we can with that data. We still have a lot to learn in how do we deliver that data to the physicians in a meaningful way,” said Doug Dietzman, executive director of Michigan Health Connect, based in Grand Rapids. “We’re trying to notify them of an event more quickly so they can act on it more quickly.”
Doctors with electronic medical records can access admission and discharge information now via a patient’s electronic health record, but “the problem is they don’t know they need to look,” Dietzman said.
In the first six weeks of the pilot, the system sent an average of 1,500 notifications weekly, he said. Michigan Health Connect plans to expand the system to non-Spectrum members in mid-January and hopes to generate data during 2013 that shows the electronic notifications make a difference in hospital readmission rates, Dietzman said.
The pilot represents just one way health care providers increasingly use information technology to support patient care and treatment decisions, a major trend that one recent study in New York concluded can lead to the promise of improved quality.
The study by the Center for Healthcare Informatics and Policy at New York Weill Cornell Medical College concluded that electronic health records enhanced patient care.
The study compared physicians using EHRs with those who still use paper records and included 466 physicians and more than 74,000 patients in ambulatory care settings in the Hudson Valley region of New York.
The study found an “association between EHR use and higher quality ambulatory care.”
Physicians using EHRs “provided significantly higher rates of recommended care than physicians using paper for four quality measures: hemoglobin A1c testing for patients with diabetes, breast cancer screening, Chlamydia screening, and colorectal cancer screening,” researchers wrote in their report on the study, one of the first to directly correlate the use of EHRs and improved quality.
As the health care industry spends billions in I.T. investments to meet federal “meaningful use” requirements established in 2009 for EHRs, Dietzman says data showing a correlation between their use and improved care can help to further adoption by clinicians.
“The goal of everything is to figure out how to provide better care for patients and make things more efficient,” Dietzman said.
In the case of the pilot project with Spectrum Health, “the ability to notify physicians within minutes of important events so they can proactively follow up and further ensure the health of their patients is critical,” Dietzman said.
The largest health information exchange in the state, the Grand Rapids-based Michigan Health Connect is used by 55 hospitals and 1,265 medical offices statewide with more than 4,000 care providers. West Michigan participants include Spectrum Health, Metro Health, Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids, Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, Lakeland Health System in St. Joseph and Michigan hospitals owned by Ascension Health, including Borgess Health in Kalamazoo. Read the full article here.
Michigan Health Connect: Leading Technology Change in Healthcare
December 4, 2012 – For years, physicians and patients in our Michigan community struggled with the medical referral process. Primary care physicians and their patients were frustrated by the amount of time it took to get appointments with specialty physicians. Specialty offices were waiting, sometimes for weeks, to get appropriate past medical history, lab and x-ray reports prior to scheduling patient appointments. The process was an inefficient one that everyone had slowly come to accept. There seemed to be no straightforward solution.
Three large hospitals in Michigan began to take notice. Concerned about patient dissatisfaction, and the perception of suboptimal healthcare coordination, they joined forces to create a nonprofit regional health information organization, Michigan Health Connect (MHC). Once established, one of the first orders of business for MHC was to create a referral management solution.
We were fortunate at West Shore Urology to be one of the first offices in the State to get to use the MHC referral product. The product allows us to use customizable templates for each diagnosis, to describe the records, labs, and x-ray reports we need from the referring physician. It allows our staff to electronically follow up on missing information prior to the patient’s arrival in our office.
Having this information gives us the opportunity, when appropriate, to order additional tests or send patients educational materials prior to their first visit in our office. This allows us to spend more face-to-face, problem-focused time with the patient. Referring physicians also benefit as MHC allows their office staff to follow a patient’s progress in real time through the entire referral process.
As more offices in our community started using the product, we noticed fewer patients sitting in our examination rooms waiting for medical records. Patient satisfaction increased as office times decreased. Patient flow in the clinic improved which reduced stress on nurses and physicians.
Healthcare technology is impacting the lives of physicians, their nurses and office staff every day. Much of the technology seems to disrupt rather than improve office workflow. However, Michigan Health Connect streamlines a suboptimal process with the potential to lead to improved and better quality patient care. The Michigan Health Connect referral product is free for Michigan physicians to use and comes with technical support. Read Dr. Brian Stork’s blog here.
Botsford Hospital Joins Michigan Health Connect
July 16, 2012 – Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills has joined Michigan Health Connect, a Grand Rapids-based health information exchange that now has 54 of the state’s 134 medical-surgical hospitals as members. Four other health systems and 18 hospitals in Southeast Michigan have joined Michigan Health Connect in the past two years: Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, St. John Providence Health System in Warren, McLaren Health Care in Flint and Novi-based Trinity Health.
“We are moving to a population health management structure and are interested in reducing costs and improving quality for our patients,” said Paul LaCasse, D.O., CEO of Botsford Health Care, the hospital’s parent company. “We need decision support services and the ability to pass information between entities. We are well under way with electronic medical record systems at Botsford. We need the exchange to pass that information to other providers.”
Initially, about 110 physicians will use the exchange, with an additional 500 on their way to installing electronic medical records, LaCasse said.
Doug Dietzman, Michigan Health’s executive director, said many other hospitals in the state have discussed joining the exchange but are not ready because they haven’t completed installation of their electronic medical record systems.
“The secure exchange of medical records ensures quality and cost control while improving the efficiency of health care providers across the state,” he said. Read the full article here.
HIE as a Force for “Megachange”
June 20, 2012 – Michigan’s HIE approach has been to tackle immunization records, a low hanging fruit, said Jim Hogan, information officer, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB). Currently, Michigan Health Connect, the state HIE organization, is receiving structured data in a consistent format so that public health can analyze immunization trends. Hogan says Michigan Health Connect also plans to implement a master patient index (MPI), so that as more health systems are connected, various records can be associated to the appropriate individual. He said the challenge now is to get more providers using the immunization registry. Read the full article here.
Advanced Care Directives Initiative in West Michigan
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – May 25, 2012 – If you have a medical crisis, do you know what kind of care you want to receive? And does your family know your wishes?
A group of West Michigan health care leaders is encouraging people to think through those questions and discuss them with their family members and physicians.
Hospitals and doctors are working together to develop uniform documents for advance care directives and a system for storing and sharing those documents with area health care providers.
“We need to implement a model in West Michigan that begins a dialogue with patients and ensures their wishes are followed regardless of where they receive care,” said Richard Breon, president and CEO of Spectrum Health. Read the full article here.
System Allows Doctors to Send Records Electronically
May 16, 2012 – 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 outlines tetanus as a common example. Read the full story here.
Agreement Allows Online Data Transfer
May 16, 2012 – The state of Michigan has signed an agreement with Michigan Health Connect, a Grand Rapids-based health information exchange, to allow doctors and hospitals to send electronic child and adult immunization records to the state’s online immunization registry.
“Directly and securely connecting Michigan Health Connect’s 54 hospitals, 961 medical offices and more than 3,500 individual providers to the state’s health records registries will facilitate more timely, accurate and efficient submission of this required data in support of overall patient care,” Doug Dietzman, Michigan Health’s executive director, said in a statement. Read the full article here.
Michigan Health Records Exchange Unveiled
LANSING, Mich. (AP) May 16, 2012 – The thousands of health care providers that work with Grand Rapids-based Michigan Health Connect are now able to send child and adult immunization records directly to the state’s Michigan Care Improvement Registry. Read the full article here.
Michigan Health Connect Receives National Innovation Award
Recognized by Healthcare Informatics for Referrals Solution
GRAND RAPIDS, MI- February 27, 2012 – Michigan Health Connect (MHC) announced today that it received second place in the national Healthcare Informatics Annual IT Innovator Awards. The award specifically recognized MHC’s Referrals solution, which connects healthcare providers and facilities of many types – primary care, specialists, community clinics and long-term care. The free app gives providers the ability to send, receive and manage electronic referrals in their office with any other provider in the MHC network. Continue Reading…
Building Connections on the Care Continuum
For Micky Tripathi, the CEO of the Massachusetts e-Health Collaborative, the longevity of the accountable care organization model-the industry’s latest effort to contain costs and improve outcomes by shifting financial incentives-is anyone’s guess. “It’s a real question mark of whether or not the ACO will work,” he says. “The ‘AC’ part has momentum, but there are open questions around the ‘O.’” Continue Reading…
PODCAST: Bridging the Referral Divide
Doug Dietzman Shares How This App Is A Cost-Effective Way To Link Transitions Between Primary and Specialty Care
This podcast is one in a series of Healthcare Informatics Innovator Award podcasts, which are highlighting this year’s Innovator Award winners. The HCI Innovator Awards Program recognizes leadership teams from patient care organizations — hospitals, medical groups, health systems and others — that have effectively deployed information technology in order to improve clinical, administrative, financial, or organizational performance. This year’s winners will be honored at the Innovator Reception at the upcoming HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas. Continue Reading…
Bridging the Referral Divide
A Michigan HIE Finds An Innovative, Cost-Effective Way To Link Transitions Between Primary and Specialty Care
Michigan Health Connect (MHC), a Grand Rapids-based health information exchange (HIE) founded by leading Michigan health systems, developed a free eReferrals app for community physicians. The value and ease of use of that app spurred rapid adoption and made this project well-qualified for the Healthcare Informatics Innovator Award. What really is impressive is how this app can not only be used to transform communication between primary and specialty care, but how it can be applied to other areas of healthcare. Continue Reading…
Early ACO Adopters Reveal Key IT Lessons
The intrepid hospital and physician office pioneers leading the charge toward accountable care organizations have learned some key lessons about IT–its role, its limitations and its challenges. Continue Reading…
Michigan Health Connect Could Bring More Technology Jobs to West Michigan
A new medical e-records collaboration in West Michigan has already brought seven new jobs to Greater Grand Rapids and looks to create several new technology positions in coming months. Continue Reading…
Connecting Michigan Providers
Exciting things are happening in Michigan, where a broad, regional health information exchange (HIE) has been steadily evolving forward. Michigan Health Connect was officially incorporated in March 2010, and has been eliciting interest across disparate parts of the state. Doug Dietzman is executive director of the Grand Rapids-based information exchange organization. He spoke recently with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland regarding Michigan Health Connect’s development and progress. For more detailed information on Michigan Health Connect, see HCI ’s previous coverage. Continue Reading…
Michigan Health Connect Puts Collaboration In Front of Competition
GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan couple adopts a three-year old boy and finds out four years later that the child’s gall bladder had been removed before the adoption.
Now the couple has to take a binder that they fill with their son’s medical history from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital, to make sure that care providers are up to date on their child’s condition and know what testing has been done, what medication has been given, “so we don’t have to try all of those things over again.” Continue Reading…
HIE Pathways to Success | Porter Research
Health information exchange (HIE) is a market that continues to develop. As the market matures, the healthcare industry has come to recognize two basic types of HIE – the public and the private. A public HIE is led by a third-party organization founded for the purpose of establishing and delivering the technology and services that enable exchange in a community. A private HIE is one sponsored by a hospital or health system to improve collaboration and care quality in its community. Continue Reading…
Michigan Health Connect Building Connections Between Health Care Providers
Successful eReferral Networks in a Multi-Vendor Community
ACO Data Sharing Will Depend on Technology, a Little Faith
Since the Department of Health and Human Services released its proposed accountable care organization regulations last week, technology that enables data-sharing has suddenly become even more important than it has been since the first-stage meaningful use regulations were announced. And Health information exchanges are poised to play a key role—from aiding physician-hospital alignment to supporting medical home efforts to coordinating care among multiple healthcare providers to improving quality of care. Continue Reading…
Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP)- Health Information in a Heartbeat- Michigan Health Connect’s Experience
After Decades of False Starts, Technologies and Policies Finally Converge to Let Providers Share Data
Like practically every other health care delivery network, Poudre Valley Health System is slammed with projects to upgrade and broaden the capacity to create, share and exploit electronic health information about its patients. But the Fort Collins, Colo., provider network also is poised to pilot data exchange with rural hospitals in the region and subsequently around the state. Continue Reading…
Healthcare Industry Wading Through Reform Implications
WEST MICHIGAN — The passage of healthcare reform in 2010 has changed the landscape for the industry as portions of the legislation come into effect through 2014. Healthcare organizations around West Michigan are working to figure out what reform means to them and how the area can take advantage of opportunities in the legislation. MiBiz contacted a total of nine healthcare industry organizations around West Michigan for this article, but some declined to be included. Continue Reading…
MHC At eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference
It has just been announced that Doug Dietzman, Executive Director from Michigan Health Connect, will be participating on a panel at eHealth Initiative’s Annual Conference titled, Turning Policy Into Action on January 20th, 2011. Interested parties from around the United States will get together to discuss policy issues pertaining to Health Information Exchange and Health Information Technology and will focus on how to further leverage/utilize Health Information Exchange to promote the inclusion of patients in decisions regarding their care.
For more information about this event, visit eHealth Initiative’s website at http://www.ehealthinitiative.org/