HIT Planning for a Critical Access Hospital Partnership (Michigan)

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Summary:

The purpose of this project was three-fold: 1) to prepare and adopt a regional health information technology (health IT) Business/ Implementation Plan; 2) Submit a successful three-year AHRQ Implementation Grant application; and 3) Identify how the long-term outcome goals of the Partnership will support the achievement of AHRQ program goals. The rural region targeted by this project is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and includes nine rural Critical Access Hospitals and their communities. The Partners share common threats of ensuring needed health care services in the face of declining reimbursement, a lack of local capital resources, a shortage of health professionals, and the need to ensure high-quality patient care despite small patient volumes. The primary objective of the Partnership was to develop a plan for an integrated advanced information management system to enable standards-based data sharing between the isolated rural hospitals. The Partnership retained an experienced planning consultant who facilitated a two-month strategic planning process and prepared a three-year Implementation Plan and grant application. It was found that it is possible to organize large groups of independently owned and governed, federally designated Critical Access Hospitals to improve patient safety and quality of care through the regional planning, development, and implementation of health IT.

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