How a nonprofit and HIE work together to tackle advance care planning

Making Choices Michigan offers free advance directive services that Great Lakes Health Connect enables clinicians to access, and Community Manager Carol Robinson said doing so helps the organizations pursue the Triple Aim.
By Jeff Lagasse
02:51 PM
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advance care planning

Achieving the Triple Aim goals of better patient care for healthier populations at lower costs is a strategy many healthcare providers are striving for. While health systems and networks deploy a range of tactics and technologies to work toward that end, advanced care planning is emerging as a piece of the puzzle.

The core components of advance care planning include writing down what is important to a particular patient to live well, naming a person to legally advocate for that patient if they can’t speak, and documenting preferences for treatments and end-of-life decisions via an advance directive or durable power of attorney, according to Carol Robinson, Community Coordinator at Making Choices Michigan.

As a nonprofit, Making Choices Michigan addresses these issues by educating people about advance care planning, and providing free conversations and advance directive documentation services -- teamed with a statewide healthcare information exchange Great Lakes Health Connect -- to assure those healthcare providers have the documents they need at the point of care.

To honor a person’s efforts to plan ahead, retrieval of those documents is crucial at the time of need. When 80 percent of Americans say they prefer to die outside of the hospital or intensive care unit, not having a person’s wishes available could place the person in the scenario of unwanted, expensive care, Robinson said.

“‘We should have talked about this sooner’ is a common refrain heard from loved ones and advocates struggling to make healthcare decisions on behalf of a family member,” Robinson said. “People plan for college, marriage, building a family, and retirement. How many plan for what means most to them at the end of life? If they do make plans, what are the chances that the healthcare providers tasked with delivering care know a person’s wishes if they are unable to speak for themselves?”

At the upcoming HIMSS18 conference in Las Vegas, Robinson, along with Great Lakes Health Connect Executive Director Doug Dietzman, will discuss how advanced care planning can make strides toward achieving the Triple Aim.

Robinson and Dietzman’s talk, “Expanding Access to Advance Care Plans with HIE” will be at 10 a.m. March 7 at the Venetian Convention Center, Palazzo B.

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Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com