By NASH NUNNERY
Mississippi is no stranger to producing “firsts” in the health care field.
After all, doctors performed both the world’s first human lung and heart transplants at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in 1963 and 1964, respectively. In 2013, UMMC researchers collaborated with other HIV experts in the first case of a so-called “functional cure” in an HIV-infected infant.
Add another first to the state’s list.
In March, the Mississippi Division of Medicaid became the nation’s first Medicaid agency to exchange patient medical data in real-time with a health system. Partnering with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the division worked with MedeAnalytics and Epic, the electronic medical records system utilized by UMMC, to devise a program that transfers claims information from the agency and translates it into clinical data.
Essentially, the accomplishment means that UMMC physicians can now review the electronic medical history of Division of Medicaid patients, allowing doctors to make better-informed decisions in real-time.
Division executive director David Dzielak said the nation’s first collaboration between Medicaid and Epic to share clinical data with UMMC is a technological break-through.
“Medicaid provides access to health care for one in four people in the state, and this will give both patients and doctors a clearer picture of clinical and claims data,” Dzielak said.
“We’re very excited to work with the state’s largest Medicaid provider on this project as part of our commitment to provide quality health coverage for vulnerable Mississippians.”
The foundation for the effort began in 2014 when MedeAnalytics established and standardized the Division’s Enterprise Master Patient Index. The index serves as the identity management service to allow easy supervision of a patient’s long-term record. The company analyzed and de-duplicated more than a decade of medical records from 2.3 million Medicaid beneficiaries.
MedeAnalytics expects to receive approximately 3,500 clinical inquiries daily from UMMC, and will send the corresponding clinical summaries for Medicaid beneficiaries in response.
“With the ability to access DOM’s patient information at the point of care, we are not only improving patient safety, but are also helping to ensure that the beneficiary’s record is always current,” said Dr. John Showalter, UMMC’s chief medical information officer. “This gives the physician a global perspective of the patient’s care.
“It’s one of the biggest signs that Mississippi is committed to getting population health right.”
Division Deputy Administrator for the Office of Information Technology Management Rita Rutland said the agency is trying to “change the face of Medicaid,” and technological advances are a start.
“For years, Medicaid has been looked upon merely as a payer of claims,” said Rutland. “(Dzielak) wants critical medical decisions that are made on data and not emotions. This is the first step in that process.”
According to MedeAnalytics, the benefits of real-time access to beneficiary data for Medicaid and UMMC include:
Emergency room care:
» Urgent care treatment decisions are more informed with a complete patient record, including an allergies list
» The cause and frequency of visits are readily available to help providers prevent future unnecessary re-admissions
» Medicaid utilization and remaining benefits can be quickly accessed
» Referrals for additional services are easily identified
» Immunization records and alerts will ensure beneficiaries are receiving the most up-to-date care
» Tobacco use info is available to providers
With the program only in its infancy, Dzielak said he hasn’t yet received feedback from UMMC physicians but has talked to those supervising the project.
“Nothing dramatic has occurred on the front end as to success or failure,” he said. “But we do know the history and previous condition of patients will be known and available instantaneously to providers. They now have a tool to deliver better service (to patients).”
In a prepared statement, MedeAnalytics CEO Andrew Hurd praised Mississippi’s Medicaid agency.
“Mississippi Division of Medicaid continues to be a model agency for the nation and it has been a privilege to partner with them over the years to set the building blocks for clinical data exchange,” said Hurd. “Medicaid beneficiaries will benefit from having their complete medical history available at the point of care, which will improve both safety and care outcomes.”
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