Electronic Health Records

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Health Information Exchange in Michigan Extends Services

GLHC and Clark Retirement Community look to bring the use of health information exchange to the post-acute long-term care environment.

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

The largest health information exchange in Michigan has reached an agreement that will enable more providers to access relevant patient health data across the care continuum.

Clark Retirement Community in Grand Rapids has signed on with Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) to provide and access data in the latter's Virtual Integrated Patient Record (VIPR).

“We are gratified that this forward thinking organization has chosen to expand their partnership with GLHC, and joined other providers from across Michigan in building the community record database," GLHC Executive Director Doug Dietzman said in public statement. This agreement is reflective of the dynamic potential that exists for health information exchange to positively impact the quality, outcomes, and costs in healthcare delivery today.”

The virtual tool gives GLHC participants access to 6.5 million patient longitudinal EHRs — both a health record and treatment history — as a condition of participation. What makes today's announcement significant is that Clark becomes the first continuing care retirement facility in the state to send patient data to the VIPR.

“The increasing role that technology plays in our business and in the lives of our residents has been a real game changer,” Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Clark Casey maintained. “Being part of a community health repository such as VIPR makes strategic sense for Clark as it offers seamless, secure, and real-time information that helps us maintain closer ties with our residents across multiple service areas. This enhanced access means we can deliver better care in a timelier manner with fewer errors, which translates to happier and healthier residents.”

Clark specializes in inpatient post-acute rehabilitation, long-term skilled nursing care, and licensed homecare service as well as residential and assisted living.

GLHC currently comprises a membership of 128 hospitals and more than 4000 thousand primary and specialty care providers and organizations. Its support of health information exchange spans numerous areas, from Direct secure messaging, lab results, and admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) notifications to a referral network, healthcare analytics, and public health reporting, making the VIPR one of almost a dozen solutions offered by the HIE.

Earlier this month at HIMSS16, GLHC highlighted the benefits of HIE use by one its hospital participants in addressing complex care conditions.

Spectrum Health Center for Integrative Medicine, which treats more than 900 patients each year with multiple conditions (e.g., substance abuse, psychiatric illness), leveraged GLHC services to reduce admissions to emergency departments by 65 percent and is working with the HIE to identify patients whose conditions will benefit from improvements to care coordination and planning.

The VIPR is one such tool for doing so, claimed R. Corey Waller, MD, MS, whose researched led to the creation of the center at Spectrum.

“Care coordination can significantly enhance an individual’s health outcomes while at the same time resulting in fewer medical tests,” he said.  “By leveraging information that is readily available in the GLHC patient registries and through solutions such as the Virtual Integrated Patient Record (VIPR), Spectrum providers are able to access data from other health entities, in addition to our own electronic health record database.”

To date, patient engagement through HIE use at the center has led to a 72-percent reduction in ER visits over two years, a savings between $28 and $36 million.

“At the Center for Integrative Medicine, we use HIE to gain a wider perspective about our patients and work towards identifying how we, as a system, can assist in getting that person into a preventative and/or management role related to their health versus the crisis management stage related to symptoms and illness,” added Waller.

Clark Retirement Community is likely hoping for similar wins through its HIE use in a technologically-underserved part of the care continuum.




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