Ahead of many other states, 66 percent of Indiana acute care hospitals are connected, enabling them to receive information electronically through a health information exchange or HIE.
Why is that important? It gives caregivers the information they need at the time they need it to improve patient outcomes.
“The single most important thing,” said Andrew VanZee, state health IT director, “is to provide information at the point of care.”
Imagine your aging parent falls ill while visiting you from another part of the state. Then think about taking this loved one to your local ER knowing physicians there can call up a medical record and learn about your parent’s chronic conditions, medications or recent surgeries. Or, what if you were that ER doctor; how helpful would the information be in your treatment plan?
Devising a roadmap
Our state has a strategic roadmap for health information technology projects and electronic connectivity, as well as funding to move us down that road over the next five years. VanZee detailed those plans at a CME session offered during the ISMA convention last month.
Strategies encompass the five pillars shown in the diagram, working with Indiana’s current health information exchanges: HealthBridge, HealthLINC, MedWeb, MHIN (Michiana Health Information Exchange) and IHIE or Indiana Health Information Exchange.
Connectivity goals call for helping an additional 30 rural/critical access hospitals to exchange information, as well as 100 federal qualified health centers and rural health clinics, and 50 lab and radiology facilities. Most existing connectivity is in large metropolitan areas and along major highways.
Already efforts are underway to complete data mapping and normalization that will provide preferred standards for data elements. “That is so the various information exchanges around the state can talk to each other,” explained Van Zee.
The standards will cover patient identification, radiology and lab results, and clinical documents.
Privacy and security are part of the plan, too. Funding already granted will help with policy development, gap analyses and planning to address any gaps discovered in the safeguarding of information.
“The goal is to improve the process to help information flow both ways,” VanZee explained. For example, physician offices will send text or exam results to hospitals, as well as receive information from those hospitals.
Read more on the Indiana Health IT website.
|Courtesy: Indiana Health Information Technology, Inc