BCBS of Michigan To Collect Data To Determine COVID-19 Treatments

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and 26 Michigan hospitals are collecting comprehensive clinical data on COVID-19 patients to be included in an extensive registry that will provide insight into best practices in treating patients with the virus.

Titled MI-COVID19, the comprehensive, multi-site registry will likely be one of the largest collections of COVID-19 patient data to date. It was developed at Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s academic medical center, by a team that already leads other BCBSM-funded quality collaboratives.

Because the registry will include anonymous patient data from multiple hospitals throughout the state, it will offer a line of sight across geographic, economic and demographic boundaries. This provides a comprehensive clinical picture that’s not typically available from smaller registries that contain data from just one hospital or health system.

“We’re fortunate in Michigan to have a mechanism in place that enables fast collaboration among providers to address critical health challenges such as the COVID-19 crisis,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan President and CEO, Daniel J. Loepp.  “I’m incredibly proud that Blue Cross is one of the partners driving this initiative forward.”

“Given the rapid onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding of patient care has been largely anecdotal, with limited data for providers to understand how to identify and treat patients,” said Thomas Simmer, MD, chief medical officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “So, using the existing platform we use in the statewide Collaborative Quality Initiatives (CQI), we were able to rapidly gain statewide provider interest to convene the staff and hospitals necessary to launch this new effort.”

The data collection is coordinated through the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety consortium (HMS), a Blue Cross-funded CQI led by physicians at Michigan Medicine and focused on improving quality of care for hospitalized patients who are at risk for adverse events. Additional Blue Cross CQI programs, and U-M faculty and staff are lending expertise, support and resources to this effort.

By analyzing the registry data, participants of the MI-COVID19 initiative aim to identify factors associated with higher levels of critical COVID-19 illness and worse outcomes; identify patient characteristics and treatment regimens associated with improved outcomes; and understand long-term complications for hospitalized patients.

“What we learn from this work will not only help now with currently hospitalized patients, but in the future should we experience another wave of COVID-19 patients,” said Scott Flanders, MD, program director of HMS, chief clinical strategy officer at Michigan Medicine, and professor of Internal Medicine – Hospital Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School. “Additionally, by studying long-term effects, we can better understand why some people need readmission to the hospital, or how long it takes to return to normal health.

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