A local task force has developed a strategy to help Michigan health care providers better leverage technology to enhance the care they provide and improve health equity.
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of Regional information exchange committee recently released report It features final recommendations for a statewide community information exchange (CIE). Efforts to build CIEs are underway at the local level across the state, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has established a task force to develop a statewide strategy to support and coordinate local efforts. We cooperated with
Molly Welch Malahar manages the Strategic Coordination and Engagement Section of DHHS and has guided the task force’s work.
“Many organizations use a variety of technologies to collect information about the people they serve,” said Welch-Malahar. “CIE aims to build the infrastructure to get the right information to the right individuals at the right time. We will be able to strengthen this.”
This task force convened community-based organizations (CBOs), health care professionals, health care payers, and government agencies to ensure that their combined work and interests are best served by a coordinated approach to CIE. . Welch-Malahar said her team surveyed more than 600 CBOs about their ability to participate in CIE and identified barriers to participation.
“The biggest barriers were not related to technology, but related to funding, resources, community partnerships, and staffing. The most frequently cited barrier was funding. We need to really think about how we can leverage the tools available to us to better serve people receiving social services and make sure these organizations are free to participate in these efforts.”
— Welch Malahar
The task force developed a set of recommendations with strong consensus, along with a high-level roadmap for implementation. Its recommendations include:
- Establish the core technical capabilities needed to achieve interoperability across the state, including standards for data exchange and identity management services.
- Establish a reliable supply of resource directory information provided as a public good.
- Establish a state-wide framework for legal agreements consistent with existing regulatory frameworks, while addressing data collection in otherwise unregulated settings, in the form of a “bill of rights” for consumers and communities. Establish an ethical framework.
- Obtain the informed consent of data subjects to ensure the aggregation of long-term data about people and groups.
- Designate and assist “coordinating bodies” in the process of facilitating activities between CBOs, government agencies, and health care organizations to ensure that these organizations comply with their fiduciary responsibilities to the people and organizations they serve.
- Establish a federal governance system through which standards and policies are set statewide, while priorities and implementation can be determined and evaluated locally.
- Leverage a variety of financing mechanisms to build and sustain these capacities, including the capacity to deliver more social services.
Teresa Anderson, strategic coordination and engagement senior specialist at DHHS, said sustainability is key.
“An effective CIE requires additional resources and capacity to support existing social service networks in developing feedback from affected partners and stakeholders, with a focus on CBO experience. What we’re trying to do is take input from health care payers, health information technology, all community-based organizations, meet them where they are, and move toward a fully integrated approach. It is about connecting this to that goal.”
Welch Malahar pointed out that: state’s work to formulate policy Incorporating the services of community health workers as a fee-for-service benefit for Medicaid enrollees may also be helpful. Submitted by DHHS Amendments to the state plan In July, they requested a policy change from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and are currently awaiting a response.
“We are in the process of finalizing policies to compensate community health workers,” Welch-Malahar said. “This is a step forward toward leveraging staff with better connections to the community. This is certainly important in thinking about how CIE operates. Medicaid is an important tool in the toolbox. ”