A recent study of health information exchanges (HIEs) revealed physicians and hospitals are slow to electronically exchange patient information. Indiana is the exception.
An HIE allows you to securely transmit data electronically with another physician office or with a hospital or lab to improve health care delivery and information gathering. That data sharing improves patient care and reduces health care costs by providing you needed information with just a key stroke.
While other states are still forming HIEs, Indiana leads in health technology. The state is home to five HIEs, most of which were formed more than a decade ago.
Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE)
- Area: Indianapolis and its nine-county region, and several hospitals statewide
- Network: 18,000 physicians and 80 hospitals
- Delivers: 1.5 million results a month
- Services: Clinical messaging, Indiana Network for Patient Care, public health syndromic surveillance, alert messaging, immunization reporting, quality reporting/clinical alerts and reminders, meaningful use assistance
“In Indiana, we are so far ahead of the game because we have been connecting organizations for years,” said Debbie Hemler, IHIE regional director of Business Development. “I think physicians are moving in the right direction, implementing electronic health records (EHR) to meet the meaningful use requirements, as well as for patient care.”
Many IHIE network members are seeing the benefits of a health exchange, such as receiving data in one central location. “One of our next challenges is to determine how to provide care providers with the data they need and want in the form they need it, at the time they need it, for the care of their patients,” Hemler said.
HealthLinc (A HealthBridge partner)
- Area: Bloomington and southern Indiana
- Network: 300 physicians and 2 hospitals
- Delivers: 200,000 results a month
- Services: clinical messaging (results delivery), public health alerts, hosted EHR, data connected EHR (interface to HIE)
HealthLinc Executive Director Todd Rowland, M.D., anticipates the day when all hospitals and physicians are electronically connected.
“The plan is to use the Internet to securely connect all five HIEs,” he said. “That means information can be shared from South Bend to Evansville. This is how Indiana will stay ahead of other states.”
He noted the importance of hospitals joining HIE networks because they are hubs for information.
“Physicians are not getting the value from their electronic health records because their systems are not connected to an HIE that provides them needed data,” he explained. “The goal with connectivity is to get data flowing and keep costs down.”
- Area: Southern Indiana, part of Ohio and Kentucky
- Network: 5,500 physicians, 30 hospitals, 2.5 million patients
- Services: EHR integration/interfaces, e-prescribing, billing and eligibility verification, electronic order entry, electronic results delivery, public health reporting and syndromic surveillance, HIE portal and user management
Trudi Matthews, HealthBridge director of Policy and Public Relations, said any physician in Indiana, unlike those in other states, can connect to an exchange.
She noted Batesville is an example of one place where physicians use EHRs with data connection to HealthBridge. Physicians receive patient information in EHRs from Margaret Mary Community Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children and hospitals in Cincinnati.
Matthews advised adopting an EHR that can connect to an HIE, to help you meet meaningful use guidelines, and qualify for incentive dollars.
Michiana Health Information Network (MHIN)
- Area: Indiana and Michigan, across the Midwest
- Network: Multiple networks with the largest being 13 hospitals and more than 1,000 physicians
- Delivers: 2 million inbound messages, 8 million outbound messages per month
- Services: Results delivery, clinical data repository, EHRs, integration services, public health connections, consumer integration and quality/benchmarking
“There is value in being connected,” said MHIN Director of Business Development Scott Kidder. “While these may be challenging times to be a provider, my advice is to move forward, adopt technology and get connected.”
Kidder noted there is a small monthly service fee to connect a provider’s EHR to the HIE, but the benefits from eliminating manual entry and scanning far outweigh any costs.
- Area: Northeastern Indiana, including Allen County and parts of Ohio
- Network: 700 physicians and 13 hospitals
- Delivers: 1.5 million clinical messages a month
Med-Web Vice President of Marketing and President of No More Clipboard Jeff Donnell said a $10 million grant is being used to finalize plans to connect all five HIEs and move data in a standardized format. The goal is to connect to a national health information network.
“If we can figure it out, then we can model it for the rest of the nation,” he commented. “Physicians here understand the importance of being connected.”
Find a complete overview of Indiana’s health information technology efforts on the exibhitindiana website and see how the Indiana State Department is adding CHIRP to IHIE.