No One Gets Out Alive – Empowering Advance Care Planning with Health IT – #HITsm Chat Topic

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/12 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Dr. Carol Robinson (@MakingChoicesMI) and Brian Mack (@GLHC_HIE) on the topic of “No One Gets Out Alive – Empowering Advance Care Planning with Health IT”.

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin.

According to a 2018 Stanford University Poll, over 80% of Americans would prefer to die at home if possible, yet that actually only occurs 20% of the time. There is a fundamental disconnect between the way that most people envision the end of life and the reality. April 16th is National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD). NHDD is an initiative of The Conversation Project in collaboration with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, intended to inspire, educate, and empower healthcare providers and the public-at-large about the importance of advance care planning (ACP). ACP exists to address this disconnect, and assure that an individual’s wishes are respected and fulfilled at the end of life.

ACP addresses the process of appointing a Patient Advocate (Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare) to communicate an individual’s values and preferences for medical care, treatment, and decision making in the event that the individual is incapacitated. This information is known as an Advance Directive.

An Advance Directive assures that an individual gets the medical care they want, while avoiding care they don’t, which can lead to unnecessary suffering and expense. It relieves caregivers of decision-making burdens, and reduces confusion and conflict during moments of crisis or grief. ACP has demonstrated improved quality of life outcomes, particularly for those with serious illness. These include improved concordance with patient wishes and reduced hospitalization and its associated costs.

Despite the demonstrated benefits, and significant growth in adoption in recent years, only about a third of U.S. adults currently have an Advance Directive. Completing the process can be fraught with challenges. When making most everyday choices, such as what to order at a restaurant, we can draw on past experience. That’s not often true when considering healthcare options. Fear of dying, family dynamics, and religious beliefs can delay or deter the ACP process.

Another challenge in gaining broad adoption and use of Advance Directives is having ready access to the information at the point-of-care when it’s needed. It is VERY common for completed Advance Directives to exist only in paper form, and to be stored in a bank safety deposit box, or another inaccessible location.  All of the thought and effort that might be invested in documenting a person’s wishes for care is worthless if the document is unavailable, and therefore not honored at the time of need.

Making Choices Michigan (MCM) was founded to address these challenges by moving the advance care planning conversation out of the healthcare environment and into the community-at-large. MCM equips and certifies volunteer facilitators to guide individuals through the process.

They partnered with Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) to improve access and promote inclusion of Advance Directives in the care planning process. Working with MCM, Individuals and organizations can electronically upload Advance Directives and other care-plan documents to GLHC’s community health record. Participating providers can then access this information, along with the patient’s health record, right at the point of care.

In 2017, MCM became a wholly owned subsidiary of GLHC, with the goal of expanding their reach across the state of Michigan. Since the partnership nearly 55,000 Advance Directives have been uploaded to the community health record, and are available to healthcare providers statewide. MCM desires to be a model of how advance care planning can be replicated and spread across the nation and beyond.

Join us for this week’s #HITsm chat as we dive into these challenging topics associated with end of live, advance care planning, and advanced directives. Here are the questions we’ll discuss during the chat.

Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:
T1: What characteristics best describe an “empowered patient”? #HITsm

T2: How do the issues involved in advance care (end-of-life) planning impact patient empowerment? #HITsm

T3: How can technology and communications aid in empowering advance care planning? #HITsm

T4: What are the most effective ways to encourage provider use of electronic Advance Directives? #HITsm

T5: How would you describe a “good death”? What steps are required to achieve that ideal? #HITsm

BONUS: Do YOU have an Advance Directive in place? If not, why not? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
4/19 – No chat due to HITMC Conference

4/26 – Destigmatizing Mental Health Through Storytelling
Hosted by Janae Sharp (@coherencemed)

5/3 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

5/10 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

5/17 – Awareness and Social Media Fundamentals for Patient Communities
Hosted by Amanda (@LALupusLady)

5/24 – TBD
Hosted by TBD

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.