Mike Dozier of Lafayette General Health: How IT is Transforming Health Care

Mike Dozier, Lafayette General Health’s Chief Information Officer, is our guest on this edition of Discover Lafayette. Under Mike’s leadership since 2014, Lafayette General has become a leader in healthcare technology in Louisiana and has enacted innovative strategies and organizational alignment through the use of IT.

We focus on “telemedicine” in this interview and discuss all the ways it enhances treatment to guarantee patients the best health outcomes while saving both the consumer and healthcare provider money. The field is evolving rapidly. While telemedicine has been around for decades as doctors have been able to diagnose patients remotely, today’s telemedicine tools provide open access to care as specialists treat you while you remain at your workplace, school or home. You can receive care no matter where you are.

Practically speaking for us patients, telemedicine can keep our healthcare costs down, make it easier to schedule visits to healthcare providers and keep us out of the emergency room by using proactive measures to monitor our health. We can also be saved from sepsis and have access to and share our healthcare records 24/7 through the use of My Health Patient Portal.

Eliminating “friction” for patients is the goal of Lafayette General to make access to care as simple as possible. Lafayette General Health is the only health system in Louisiana that has a mobile app that delivers information about wait times to see a doctor, obtain visual information about where clusters of sick people are situated throughout the state (as in where flu is raging among the population), and that allows you to check-in online to avoid waiting for your doctor’s appointment. While a typical “15 minute doctor appointment” can actually take up to four hours of your time (drive there, check-in, fill out paperwork, wait, go to the backroom, wait, etc…), the mobile app dispenses with the delays and affords patients the flexibility of preparing ahead of time so that they are actually in and out of an appointment in reasonable time.

A large contingent of IT professionals on staff at Lafayette General work to ensure that records are available to providers and patients, even when hurricanes and natural disasters may occur. Lafayette General’s records are stored off-site in Kansas City, which is one of the most secure places in the U. S. Other sites are also utilized as backup measures to protect precious healthcare data. Redundancy is important in data security and protecting network and software applications of providers and Mike discussed how this became very apparent from Louisiana’s experience in 2005 when Hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the Gulf Coast.

Lafayette General’s David Callecod announced in March 2019 that patients can have access to their medical records regardless of the electronic health record a healthcare facility uses. “When data is made readily available, providers can make diagnostic and treatment decisions more quickly, and patients can recover sooner. Better data means better communication with our patients and providers, better care and better outcomes.” LGH and Our Lady of Lourdes in Lafayette are two of the first healthcare organizations in the country to share and retrieve health data via the new connection between two of the leading health IT data exchange networks, managed by CommonWell Health Alliance® and Carequality. By taking part in this pilot, Lafayette General Health and Our Lady of Lourdes can now exchange patients’ electronic medical records seamlessly through the use of technology.

Lafayette General is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to diagnose sepsis, a blood infection that kills many people while they are being treated in hospitals worldwide. Being able to detect key changes in vital signs, lab results, nursing reports, and other information can identify a patient’s potential to develop sepsis earlier and quickly alert healthcare staff to changes that the eye can’t detect. LGH has identified 130 lives that were saved due to utilizing AI in preventing death from sepsis.

Corporate health for South Louisiana businesses is of utmost importance, and Heather Harris joined us to discuss how Lafayette General Corporate Health is working to keep healthcare costs down for businesses by reducing absenteeism, lowering rates of illness and increasing employee morale. Personalized executive health physicals are conducted and employees can be educated on healthy lifestyle choices to keep everyone’s health on track. Benefits include the convenience of all phases of the exam, from lab work to radiology, coordinated in about four hours, with results delivered the same day by the physician. For more information on this program, please visit https://www.lafayettegeneral.com/services/corporate-health.