Improving Mental Health Care in Michigan

One of the most challenging aspects of providing care to people living with serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia is the complex and nuanced process of prescribing and managing medications.

While research has generated new evidence-based care guidelines, the daily pressures of providing clinical care in the real world often mean that mental health practitioners do not have ready access to this information. This results in great variability in treatment and can also mean that people are not prescribed the optimal medication.

The Ethel and James Flinn Foundation is committed to improving the quality of mental health care and addressing this issue. The Flinn Foundation has developed a medication management tool, the Michigan Quality Improvement Program (MiMQIP). MiMQIP is a clinical decision support tool that helps practitioners access evidence-based medication management guidelines.

The tool collects specific information on medications, symptoms, and functional status, and serves up relevant clinical guidelines to support treatment decisions. Use of the underlying Clinical Practice Guidelines has been piloted in public and private sectors, urban and non-urban settings, and different regions of the state. The newly developed tool incorporating guidelines has been beta tested by 15 clinicians throughout Michigan. Altarum is supporting the Flinn Foundation by providing health information technology expertise to support the rollout of the tool and to drive adoption.

Board Chair and Project Lead Leonard Smith said, “The Flinn Foundation aims to help close the gap between research and psychiatric practice by encouraging the use of evidence-based practice guidelines for medication treatment. By helping physicians integrate clinical research, standards of care, and clinical judgment in the medication treatment for those patients, MiMQIP will provide support and resources necessary for better care.”

The goal of this project is to improve the quality of mental health care in Michigan through dissemination and adoption of guidelines for evidence-based medication treatment of schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder, which will decrease the variability in care and improve outcomes. In order to realize potential improvements, providers must use the tool. Altarum’s analysis will highlight opportunities to remove barriers to use, improve value delivered, and integrate the tool in a way that supports provider workflow.

Altarum’s Information and Technology Strategies
Altarum’s Information and Technology Strategies group is specifically focused on driving change in the health care system by conducting research to inform policy and investment decisions, developing systems and capabilities, and accelerating health information technology adoption. We believe that widespread adoption and meaningful use of health information technology will have a profound impact on the practice of medicine.

Ethel and James Flinn Foundation
The Ethel and James Flinn Foundation is committed to improving the quality, scope and delivery of mental health services in Michigan. The Foundation uses its resources through research to develop, evaluate, and implement best practice treatment programs that meet the needs of people in Michigan.


Project Leader

Rachelle May-Gentile

Rachelle May-Gentile

Project Leader and Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Connected Health