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Indiana physicians and medical practices to benefit from $16 million pilot federal project
e-Reports, May 17, 2010
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Chronic disease, prevention program to reach 41 counties, 43 percent of state’s population
Indiana physicians, patients and health care entities will become a Beacon Community, one of 15 nationwide, in a pilot federal program aimed at achieving new levels of quality and efficiency through health information technology (HIT).

Vice President Joe Biden and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced May 4 the non-profit Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) would be awarded $16,008,431 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). IHIE and other Beacon Communities will use the money to expand existing infrastructures of interoperable HIT and information exchanges to show how widespread adoption is feasible to improve care and outcomes.

“The Beacon Community Program will tap the best ideas across America and demonstrate the enormous benefit health IT will have to improving health and care within our communities,” said Secretary Sebelius.

ARRA funds flowing to Indiana
$22 million  Regional Extension Centers
(Purdue and HealthBridge)
Regional Extension Centers 
(Purdue and HealthBridge)Regional Extension Centers  (Purdue and HealthBridge)
$10 million

Job Training Grants
(Ivy Tech and Indianapolis Private Industry Council)

$10.3 million

State Health Information Exchange Cooperative Agreement Program
(spearheaded by Indiana Health Information Technology, Inc.)

$16 million

Beacon Community Program
(Indiana Health Information Exchange)

IHIE logo

IHIE has already engaged more than 14,000 physicians and 70 health care organizations, including 60 hospitals, to securely exchange health information on 6 million patients. The award inaugurates a 36-month program to connect doctors in Indiana cities – including Anderson, Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Fishers, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Noblesville, Plainfield and Richmond.

“Our Beacon Community Program will be a guiding light to others showing Indiana’s sustainable, secure and robust infrastructure can promote an effective, efficient, secure and reliable health care system across the nation,” said J. Marc Overhage, M.D., Ph.D., IHIE’s president/CEO.

The goals, the action
Here are the Beacon Community’s three main activities:

  1. Focus on connecting, accessing or capturing more data sources. Moving data from physician practices to IHIE has been difficult. Vital signs and point-of-care testing information have been locked in practices, but the pilot project will enable inclusion of physician data to build a more robust, relevant patient record.
  2. A broadening and deepening of the Quality Health First Program, an existing multi-payer, “user friendly” pay-for-performance program for physicians. New disease and wellness measures, as well as functionality will be added.
    (Learn more at the quality health first website.)
  3. Special attention to rural physicians. The pilot program will collaborate with Regional Extension Centers to achieve electronic health record adoption and meaningful use among at least 60 percent of primary care providers in the Beacon Community area.

Those three activities will help IHIE reach the goals outlined in the award proposal:

  • Reduce preventable hospital admissions and emergency department visits related to ambulatory care by 3 percent
  • Reduce ambulatory care re-admissions by 10 percent
  • Reduce redundant radiologic studies by 10 percent
  • Increase proportion of patients screened for colorectal and cervical cancer by 5 percent
  • Increase data on adult immunization by 5 percent
  • Improve by 10 percent the proportion of patients whose diabetes is controlled, with HbA1C below 9 percent
  • Improve by 10 percent proportion of diabetic patients with controlled cholesterol, evidenced by reaching risk-adjusted LDL targets

ISMA member Alan Snell, M.D., chief medical informatics officer at St. Vincent Health, an IHIE partner, sees the Beacon Community as a game-changing program that supports physicians by providing relevant information that helps them take care of their patients.

“Such a system of motivated health care stakeholders can launch a ‘snowball effect’ to generate a sustainable national model of a community of ‘meaningful users’ of health IT that achieves measurable improvement in quality, safety and efficiency,” he said.

Read more about IHIE on their website.

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