Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan said Thursday that it would lead and finance a statewide inventory of healthcare provider investments in medical information technology, both current and planned, with the cooperation of three provider associations.
The Blues plan is working with the Michigan State Medical Society, the Michigan Osteopathic Association and the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, the organizations that constitute the Partnership for Michigan's Health.
The state inventory study will catalog investments such as electronic medical-record databases, hospital and physician Web portals, compatibility and connectivity of business systems and electronic prescribing capabilities.
Before providers spend more money on information technology, it's important to know what is out there so efforts are not duplicated, said Dan Loepp, chief executive officer designate and chief of staff for the Blues.
Southeast Michigan hospital systems are spending more than $700 million on information technology to cut costs and to improve the quality of patient care. Those efforts should be coordinated to establish a "basic building block" for hospital systems to communicate with each other, said Dennis Paradis, executive director of the Michigan Osteopathic Association.
"By establishing a baseline understanding of Michigan's health IT infrastructure, we can identify some common directions to go in the future and get to a point where we are all working with complementary technology," Paradis said in a news release.
Loepp said he was unsure how much the study will cost. The group said it expects to present some results of the study within a year.
This story was originally written for Crain's Detroit Business on Thursday, June 2.