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Franciscan's electronic records rollout shows industry growth

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Franciscan Alliance will spend more than $100 million over the next two years to install a common electronic medical record system at its 13 hospitals and more than 165 physician practices. It’s a sign of the growth of the health information technology industry in Indiana, which a new BioCrossroads report says generates $200 million a year in sales and is growing at 8 percent annually.

Franciscan will begin its rollout of its electronic medical record system this coming weekend at its St. Francis Health hospitals in the Indianapolis area and 32 physician offices here. The system, made by Wisconsin-based Epic Systems Corp., will maintain a single record for each patient, no matter which Franciscan facilities that patient visits.

“When our patients arrive at the hospital, we’ll have instant access to their most recent health histories, helping our physicians and clinical staff make the most educated choices for their care,” Dr. David Mandelbaum, who is leading physicians’ efforts for Epic’s implementation, said in a statement.

Indianapolis-based Community Health Network was the first hospital system in the state to implement a virtual single patient record system two years ago.

Franciscan is using the bonus money made available through the 2009 economic stimulus bill to help fund its system's debut. Those funds—an estimated $38 billion for hospitals and doctors—have produced a boom in the health information technology industry nationally.

BioCrossroads, an Indianapolis-based life sciences development group, has been trying to promote growth of health information technology in Indiana with an initiative called Exhibit Indiana, launched in 2009.

Its latest report, released Tuesday, is the first time the number of firms, the size of their workforces and the total of their revenue have been quantified.

In Indiana, health information technology grew from a 1998 base of 33 firms and 969 workers to 72 firms and 2,472 workers in the first quarter of 2010. Total revenue of those firms surged from $90 million in 1998 to $202 million in 2008.

Those data were compiled by the Indiana Business Research Center, using its own analyses and data from InfoGroup InfoUSA.

“Indiana entrepreneurs have formed HIT businesses and other enterprises have entered the state in response to the health care delivery industry needs to improve overall health care quality, reduce costs by improving efficiency, and convert paper-based health care systems to electronic systems,” states the BioCrossroads report.

Companies spotlighted in the report include makers of electronic medical record systems, such as Fort Wayne-based Medical Informatics Engineering. Those companies account for about 15 percent of Hoosier health IT jobs.

Also mentioned were health information services companies like South Bend-based Press Ganey Associates Inc., which account for 58 percent of industry jobs, and consulting firms such as Westfield-based maxIT Healthcare LLC, which account for 27 percent of the jobs.

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