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Congressional Leaders Can Look to Indiana for Innovative Approach to Health IT in Economic Stimulus Package

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders in Indiana are encouraging Congress to consider its innovative, community-based health information technology (IT) program as a model for the rest of the nation as it infuses between $2-5 billion in health IT infrastructure as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This is the range between the pending House and Senate versions of certain health IT infrastructure funding recommended through this economic stimulus legislation.

A 2005 RAND Corporation study estimated that efficient exchange of medical records among doctors and hospitals in the U.S. also known as a health information exchange (HIE), would save $81 billion annually. Other estimates have put that figure as high as $450 billion per year. There is already a broadly utilized, enduring, successful and community-based HIE model being used in Indiana that leads to better patient outcomes, and a more informed, more effective and more affordable healthcare system.

There is a strong job creation and economic component to HIE. According to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, investing $10 billion in the health information technology industry, which includes HIE, will create 212,000 jobs.

This HIE platform, implemented across the state of Indiana, enables health information to follow the patient, regardless of provider or health system. Created by the Regenstrief Institute, Inc, and operated by the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE), both non-profit corporations, the HIE promotes efficient gathering, analysis and distribution of clinical information and has the potential to save lives, improve quality of care and reduce costs. The exchange securely connects 39 hospitals, 10,000 physicians and more than 6 million patients, delivering lab results, reports, medication histories, and treatment histories, in real-time, sent instantly to where they're needed, regardless of the hospital system or location.

IHIE was launched five years ago by Indiana's major healthcare providers, payors, physicians, public health officials, and business and community leaders and builds on Regenstrief's legacy of developing and promoting health information standards and the use of health information technology to improve care.

Of the $20 to $23 billion that has been included in the most recent form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for health IT, $2 to $5 billion has been called upon to invest in health information technology architecture to support the nationwide electronic exchange of health information, which includes health information exchange. The Indiana Health Information Exchange provides the country's best working model of such an architecture.

As the country's epicenter of health IT, Indiana is well-positioned to advance other health IT components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, including workforce training, research, data programming, aggregation and analytical tools. All these components are necessary for any new national system to succeed.

In Indianapolis, the most health IT wired city in the nation, the local HIE saves $26 per emergency department visit by eliminating duplicate tests and other unnecessary activities. The HIE serves not only the health of individual patients but also establishes a reliable base of quality and actionable information that allows physicians to deliver optimal therapies and alert doctors and their patients to potential drug interactions.

In addition to providing health information in near real-time where and when needed for patient care (to emergency departments, outpatient centers and ambulatory practices), the system provides preventive health and chronic disease management efforts in the state. Through this, IHIE is able to address the issues of inefficiencies and waste, while also supporting patient care.

"Indiana has seen first hand how health information exchange drives better healthcare for our patients, increases efficiencies for our healthcare professionals and saves healthcare dollars. Replicating this kind of platform throughout the U.S. would have incredible positive implications on our healthcare outcomes and cost savings," said Vincent C. Caponi, CEO of St. Vincent Health and Chairman of the IHIE Board of Directors. "Participation in this kind of platform is not isolated to the biggest or elite hospitals, which can help to improve healthcare accessibility for Americans."

IHIE recently launched a service that allows physicians to integrate reminders and alerts about their patients who are due for preventive screenings and chronic disease follow-up care for conditions like diabetes and heart disease, along with screenings like mammography and well-child visits into their practice. The service, which is available at no cost to physicians, allows them to know which patients are getting these tests completed, the results, and, importantly, which patients haven't yet come in to be tested.

For example, in the Indianapolis community, the health information exchange platform helps physicians identify and appropriately manage tens of thousands of diabetic patients by improving screening and tens of thousands of women who would benefit from mammographic screening. This data has implications at the individual and community level while also impacting public health and educational initiatives across the state.

"IHIE was launched with the vision of faster, safer and more effective healthcare for Hoosiers. We've demonstrated this reality by aligning efficiency and quality with transparency to improve patient health and help support better outcomes for patients," said Dr. J. Marc Overhage, CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange and Director of Medical Informatics at the Regenstrief Institute.

Overhage added, "Patient privacy is the most important consideration for the Indiana Health Information Exchange. Our stringent rules have been agreed upon by our community to protect patient privacy while allowing information to be used as effectively as possible for patient care. Health information exchange policies must find ways to balance these issues, while providing the highest quality of care that Americans need and deserve."

Indiana is home to the nation's oldest and most respected secure health information exchange infrastructure. The Regenstrief Institute, closely affiliated with the Indiana University School of Medicine, first created the infrastructure, which is extended throughout the state by the Indiana Health Information Exchange. The Regenstrief Medical Record System, an innovative electronic medical record system, has helped physicians manage health care information for over a quarter century. Institute researchers comprise one of the largest medical informatics physician brain trusts in the United States.

About the Indiana Health Information Exchange

Indiana Health Information Exchange, Inc. (IHIE) is a non-profit corporation formed by the Regenstrief Institute, private hospitals, local and state health departments, BioCrossroads, the state's life sciences initiative, and other prominent organizations in Indiana. IHIE is the nation's most respected health information exchange organizations and one of the nation's only health information exchange organizations providing chronic disease and preventive health services ( It is dedicated to supporting communities by providing services that enable the right medical information to get to the right provider at the right time to enhance patient care. To learn more, visit

About Regenstrief Institute, Inc.

The Regenstrief Institute, Inc., an internationally recognized informatics and healthcare research organization, is dedicated to the improvement of health through research that enhances the quality and cost-effectiveness of health care. Established in Indianapolis by philanthropist Sam Regenstrief in 1969 on the campus of the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Institute is supported by the Regenstrief Foundation and closely affiliated with the I.U. School of Medicine and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana. Regenstrief Institute research scientists form a highly respected cadre of health services researchers linked to one of the largest and most comprehensive medical informatics laboratories in the world.

SOURCE Indiana Health Information Exchange
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