Michigan Medicine teams with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and 25 Michigan hospitals for unique COVID-19 data collection to help determine treatments and best care practices

Author | Kara Gavin

Adapted from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. View the original

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Michigan Medicine is teaming with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and 25 other Michigan hospitals to collect 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.”

“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 the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety consortium (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.”

“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.

The type of information being collected for the MI-COVID19 clinical registry includes:

  • Symptoms and conditions upon arrival
  • Patient vital signs
  • Medications used before and during hospitalization
  • Medical history, including any concurrent conditions or diagnoses
  • Imaging and lab test results
  • Course of treatment
  • Discharge information and 60-day post-discharge status

The list of participating hospitals continues to grow as this CQI has quickly launched. Currently, the participating hospitals include:

  • Bronson Methodist Hospital (Kalamazoo)
  • Detroit Receiving Hospital
  • Harper Hutzel Hospital (Detroit)
  • Holland Hospital
  • Hurley Medical Center (Flint)
  • Huron Valley Sinai Hospital (Commerce)
  • Lakeland Health
  • McLaren Flint
  • McLaren Greater Lansing
  • McLaren Port Huron
  • Mercy Health St. Mary's (Grand Rapids)
  • Metro Health Hospital (Wyoming)
  • Mercy Health Hospital (Muskegon)
  • Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor)
  • MidMichigan Alpena
  • MidMichigan Gratiot
  • MidMichigan Midland
  • Munson Medical Center (Traverse City)
  • Sinai Grace Hospital (Detroit)
  • Sparrow Hospital (Lansing)
  • Spectrum Health (Grand Rapids)
  • St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital
  • St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital
  • St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital (Howell)
  • St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital (Pontiac)
  • St. Mary Mercy Livonia      

Blue Cross-funded Collaborative Quality Initiatives are internationally recognized, statewide improvement programs that bring Michigan hospitals and providers together to study areas of care that are rapidly evolving, have medical uncertainty, and where best practices are not readily known. The CQI platform has developed best practices across many areas of clinical care. In addition, U-M researchers at the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation have published many findings from CQI data in the medical literature for health care providers everywhere to use.


Media Contact Public Relations

Department of Communication at Michigan Medicine



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