Michigan’s health system uses AI technology to manage chronic conditions

Following a successful pilot, McLaren Health Care is expanding a program that uses artificial intelligence technology to monitor patients with persistent conditions.

People living with cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or other long-term medical problems receive text messages, emails, or phone calls, whichever communication you prefer, and must answer lists of disease-specific automated questions.

Responses indicating signs of complications are digitally marked and sent to a supervising nurse.

The goal is to help people before this situation becomes critical. “So helping to identify someone’s condition is getting worse before they present to the hospital,” said Andrea Phillips, director of care coordination for McLaren’s high performance network. He oversees the healthcare management initiatives of the Grand Blanc health system.

At a time when hospitals and medical offices across the state are struggling with staffing shortages, this allows a nurse to oversee 1,500 to 1,600 patients instead of 100 to 120. “So it increases her skills about 12 times,” Phillips said.

The health system launched the program in March, and in the first few months more than 1,700 patients were enrolled. The pilot phase ended this summer and McLaren is committed to a permanent program.

Phillips said the hope is to enroll a total of about 7,000 patients.

They will come from all over the state, from McLaren Northern Michigan in Petoskey to Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit and Ohio on McLaren St. Luke’s in Maumee near Toledo.

The program began with patients with COPD and heart failure. It is being expanded to include people with diabetes, end-stage renal disease and sepsis, McLaren spokesman David Jones wrote in an email. It could also involve preventive care, such as ensuring timely mammograms or prostate cancer screening.

Phillips said the focus is on those patients with COPD and heart failure, as well as those discharged from hospitals with high-risk conditions. “To make sure that once they’re home, they have everything they need and their issues are addressed so they don’t have to come back or go back into the hospital.”

It’s early to evaluate the data, but initial numbers suggest those who participate in the program will go to the hospital less often than those who don’t, Phillips said.

Readmission numbers are “significantly down,” and anecdotally, patients have said they would have otherwise gone to the emergency department, Jones said.

Feedback has been positive, Phillips said.

“They feel they are supported, that they have a support person,” he said of the patients.

A nurse will usually contact them within 90 minutes of a negative response or call request. “So they have these personalized services.”

Instead, people may be on hold or wait a while to hear back from the doctor’s office and even longer for an appointment.

Jones sent some patient comments to a reporter. They express gratitude for the follow-up, attention and care. “It’s helped me pay attention and notice how often I have breathing problems, so I’m taking my medication better now,” one person said in June.

The pandemic exposed and worsened some health care problems in the state and the country and exacerbated or accelerated shortages in some fields, including respiratory therapists and nurses; the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 194,500 average annual openings for registered nurses between 2020 and 2030, and 23. According to the American Hospital Association, % of hospitals have reported staffing shortages to the government.

In addition, baby boomers are aging and their health care needs are increasing. About 90 percent of those enrolled in McLaren’s program are over 65, Phillips estimates.

Health systems are looking for ways to innovate.

“I wouldn’t say health care is under-resourced,” Phillips said. “But how do you work smarter with what you have?”

Read more at MLive:

Can community colleges offer 4-year degrees? GOP lawmaker wants AG to clear things up.

Official Michigan primary election results: 2.1 million votes, half cast absentee

Judge Grants Injunction Blocking County Enforcement of Michigan Abortion Ban

Army Corps to Feed Private Lake Michigan Beaches with Federal Funds

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.