In Minnesota, all residents have access to free tobacco cessation programs, called quitlines, either through their health insurance plan or through ClearWay Minnesota’s QUITPLAN Services. Healthcare providers and community organizations can refer tobacco users to these quitine programs using a fax referral system called the Minnesota Quitline Network. Minnesota’s five major health plans (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, Preferred One, and UCare) plus ClearWay Minnesota collaborate on this project, which was initiated by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and is now administered by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). The Minnesota Quitline Network simplifies the referral process for providers and tobacco users by allowing all referrals to be sent to the same fax number and routed to the correct quitline based on insurance coverage.
In 2007, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota asked PDA to build a web reporting system to track the use of the referral system and the results of the referrals. To address data privacy concerns, quitline providers would transfer aggregated information about the referrals and the results of those referrals to PDA each month. The data would be aggregated to the clinic level, so no individual participant information would be transferred.
PDA developed a back-end application to process monthly data from quitline providers and a web application to report on the data. PDA’s back-end application conducts quality checks on each monthly quitline data file, combines the data from all quitlines together, and uploads the data to the reporting database. The web application provides access to six reports that can be customized with parameters like county, date ranges, and health systems. This is a multi-tenant system designed to provide different user-levels (health plan, clinic, administrator, etc.) access to only the reports and data they have authority to view.
PDA’s custom-built web application has run for over a decade with the same intuitive reporting and site tracking functionality. The system provides a simple and sustainable solution for the collaborative while adhering to strict data and design requirements. The major benefits of the system include:
- Administrators can identify and follow-up with inactive referring sites.
- Health plans can view the success rate of referrals to their programs leveraging a variety of reporting filters.
- Referring sites can track the number and results of their own referrals.
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