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Health records operation looking to raise $20M

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The Indiana Health Information Exchange Inc. hopes to raise roughly $20 million over three years to take its health information technology services to hospitals around the country.

The Indianapolis-based not-for-profit plans to launch a for-profit subsidiary, likely with a new brand name, into the market within 90 days. That entity would take on some of IHIE’s 70 current employees and would continue IHIE’s work with AT&T to build out the IT infrastructure needed to service health care systems all over the country.

This out-of-state expansion has been on the minds of IHIE leaders for at least five years. It was given added fuel in 2009, when Congress passed the HITECH Act that funneled millions of dollars to doctors and health systems to start or expand their use of electronic medical record systems.

And now, President Obama’s 2010 health reform law is pushing hospital systems to rely on electronic medical records and the “big data” insights that can come from them to simultaneously improve care and reduce costs.

The IHIE plans to be at the center of that work. It started talking to health systems outside of Indiana in January.

“The big issue today in health care is population management,” said Harold Apple, CEO of IHIE. He said IHIE’s work with AT&T, as well as other partnerships he hopes to form, should help IHIE get better at capturing and analyzing patient information.

Apple and AT&T will discuss their plans and the trends in the health IT industry during an event Wednesday sponsored by Indianapolis life sciences development group BioCrossroads. The event, to be held at the D’Amore restaurant at the top of the Chase Tower downtown, is titled “Driving Innovation and Collaboration in Healthcare IT.”

The IHIE already serves 25,000 doctors in multiple states. But its services to hospitals have been limited to 90 in Indiana.

Apple said IHIE learned a lot about tracking patient information and delivering it to doctors to help them manage patient health during its partnership with Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Now it will need to add people with deeper analytical skills to help it provide those services to large hospital-doctor systems that are forming accountable care organizations, or ACOs.

ACOs will have a chunk of their reimbursement from the federal Medicare program for seniors and by some private health insurers hinge on their ability to document quality care that reduces patients’ need for care year by year.

Information technology will be key to making ACOs successful, Apple noted.

“Part of what our strategic mission will include is providing external data to ACOs” because many patient s receive their care outside of their home hospital, Apple said. He added, “Those kinds of data will help prevent duplicate testing, and the things that kind of raise costs in a needless way.”

The IHIE was formed in 2004 by Indianapolis-based Regenstrief institute Inc., which maintains the patient record database on which IHIE depends, and BioCrossroads. It had revenue in 2011 of $12.8 million.

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