Michigan Beacon uses HIT for high-risk diabetes intervention

The Southeast Michigan Beacon Community is deploying a variety of health IT tools in its effort to improve care for high-risk patients with diabetes in an underserved area, according to an Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT HealthITBuzz blog post.

The Beacon Community has created what it calls the Patient Health Navigator Initiative to help these patients. The program combines technology with case managers who follow up and engage with the patients. To date, 42 area practices have referred 340 such patients to the program, according to the post.

The Patient Health Navigator Initiative is built on "a strong IT infrastructure and tools that include a targeted health information exchange and practice-level clinical decision support tools," writes Beacon Program Director Terrisca des Jardins. Among the health IT modalities that are being planned, tested, and/or implemented are:

  • EHR reminder prompts identifying patients who may be qualified for a patient health navigator, based on defined clinical criteria
  • The use of text messaging to help patients perform diabetes self-assessments and receive customized educational, goal setting and tracking messages through mobile devices
  • The use of the HIE to help physicians and hospitals get immediate access to clinical data, including lab results and radiology reports.
  • The integration of patient health navigator reports into EHRs so that physicians know what interventions have been performed.

This is not the only Beacon Community targeting patients with diabetes through mobile devices. As Sara Jackson recently pointed out in FierceMobileHealthcare, a program called text4health has been launched in three Beacon Communities in New Orleans, Cincinnati and Detroit. A similar federally funded program called text4baby has had a fair amount of success across the country in the past year.

To learn more:
- read the Health IT Buzz post

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