Michigan’s Longitudinal Health Record: Pipe Dream No More!

dougdietzmanBy Doug Dietzman, Executive Director, Great Lakes Health Connect
Twitter: @GLHC_HIE

Having ready access to an individual’s integrated health records from disparate providers anywhere in Michigan is no longer a pipe dream. Leveraging this information to support people’s care and wellness goals is happening today through the Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) longitudinal health record, called VIPR (Virtual Integrated Patient Record).

For example, let’s say a Detroit resident goes to Traverse City this month and has an unfortunate boating accident that requires treatment at the closest hospital. Because of VIPR, that hospital has access to all of the patient’s clinical information that their downstate providers have contributed, as well as information from over 60 other hospitals and health systems across the state. This information will better inform how the patient should be cared for. Upon returning home, the patient’s local physician has access to the clinical information related to the accident without having to make a single phone call or request records over fax.

Over 6.7 million individuals have clinical data, including admission and discharge information, lab results, radiology reports, transcribed documents, problem lists, allergies, medication lists, advance care documents (e.g., powers of attorney, living wills), and care plans; stored in the GLHC longitudinal health record.

So what?!? Why is this important? Because it is impossible to deliver the best care to patients if healthcare providers are missing critical pieces of clinical information. As providers take more responsibility and financial risk for the overall health of populations, they will absolutely need visibility into information that extends far beyond the walls of their own clinical setting. More simply, patients are being harmed as we practice medicine partially in the dark.

Real story – Dr. Cara Poland spoke at the 2016 GLHC Summit Series event in West Michigan and told the story of one of her patients who came in concerned about her health and wanting diagnostic testing to figure out what was going on. Looking in VIPR, Dr. Poland realized this woman had been in ALL three hospital emergency departments in town the previous week on three consecutive days. Not only that, but a CAT scan had been performed at all three facilities, each of which found no issues. That is patient harm, a waste of resources, and adding to the overall cost of healthcare in the community. This happens all the time; we don’t have visibility to it across our communities and state. We must do better for Michigan residents and now have the platform to actually be better.

One last story. An individual recently showed up to one of our participating hospital’s emergency departments. He was registered and a variety of tests were ordered. Shortly thereafter, the attending physician remembered that VIPR was newly available and looked up the individual. The physician discovered that the patient had been discharged from another ED in town just 30 minutes prior, having had much of the same diagnostic testing already done. With the results readily available in VIPR for review, the physician was able to cancel the diagnostic testing and more importantly, was able to offer the patient the needed social and behavioral services.

These stories are precisely why all clinical information must be available at the point of care if we are going to deliver on our individual missions to improve the health and wellness of the communities we serve. Unfortunately, it is not yet universally used across the state – there is more to be done and we’re working hard every day to get there. But the availability of a comprehensive, statewide, longitudinal health record is no longer a pipe dream. It is very real today and Michigan’s residents will be healthier and better cared for because of it.

This article was originally published on Great Lakes Health Connect and is republished here with permission.