Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and 36 Michigan Hospitals Team Up for Unique COVID-19 Data Collection to Help Determine Treatments and Best Care Practices

Debbie Reinheimer

| 4 min read

DETROIT, April 20, 2020 UPDATED May 6, 2020 and Oct. 29, 2020 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and 36 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.” 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:
  • Beaumont Hospital, Dearborn
  • Beaumont Hospital, Farmington Hills
  • Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe
  • Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
  • Beaumont Hospital, Taylor
  • Beaumont Hospital, Trenton
  • Beaumont Hospital, Troy
  • Beaumont Hospital, Wayne
  • Bronson Battle Creek Hospital
  • Bronson Methodist Hospital (Kalamazoo)
  • Detroit Receiving Hospital
  • Harper Hutzel Hospital (Detroit)
  • Henry Ford Health
  • Holland Hospital
  • Hurley Medical Center (Flint)
  • Huron Valley Sinai Hospital (Commerce)
  • Lakeland Health
  • McLaren Flint
  • McLaren Greater Lansing
  • McLaren Port Huron
  • Mercy Health (Muskegon)
  • Mercy Health St. Mary's (Grand Rapids)
  • Metro Health Hospital (Wyoming)
  • Michigan Medicine (Ann Arbor)
  • MidMichigan Alpena
  • MidMichigan Gratiot
  • MidMichigan Midland
  • Munson Medical Center (Traverse City)
  • Sinai Grace Hospital (Detroit)
  • Sparrow Hospital (Lansing)
  • 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. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Blue Cross provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.7 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. The company has been committed to delivering affordable health care products through a broad variety of plans for businesses, individuals and seniors for 80 years. For more information, visit and
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association