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New federal funds come with big goals

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Indiana has now received nearly $50 million in federal bucks to digitize health care around the state. But the latest grant—$16 million to the Indiana Health Information Exchange—comes with specific, ambitious goals for health care providers.

The Indiana Health Information Exchange will use the latest round of money, called a Beacon Communities grant, to expand its Quality Health First program. That program tracks lab test results for each participating physician and shows them how well they are doing at testing their patients for chronic disease and preventing the disease from worsening. The expansion will now try to include information from physician exams of patients.

IHIE has committed to get at least 60 percent of physicians in its geographic area connected to the program over a 36-month period. The geographic area runs Kokomo to Anderson to Richmond to Bloomington to Indianapolis and its suburbs.

In that area, IHIE told the feds it could reduce preventable hospital visits and walk-in emergency room visits by 3 percent; reduce duplicative imaging tests by 10 percent and reduce readmissions to hospitals of walk-in patients by 10 percent.

It also hopes to increase screening for colorectal and cervical cancers by 5 percent, increase by 10 percent the proportion of patients whose diabetes is under control, and increase by 10 percent the proportion of diabetics whose cholesterol is under control.

“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,” Dr. Marc Overhage, CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange, said in a statement.

The money to juice adoption of health information technology comes from the 2009 stimulus act. The latest round of funding was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Last month, HHS gave $10.3 million to form Indiana Health Information Technology Inc., which will coordinate work between Indiana’s five health information exchanges, including IHIE in Indianapolis.

In February, Ivy Tech Community College and the Indianapolis Private Industry Council received $9.8 million to train workers for the health information technology fields. Also,  Purdue University received a $12 million award to develop a regional extension center program to help rural doctors implement electronic medical records.

BioCrossroads, the Indianapolis-based life sciences development group, sees health information technology as an industry for potentially high growth in Indiana. In 2009 BioCrossroads launched Exibhit Indiana, an initiative focused on speeding development and use of health information technology in Indiana and the nation.
 

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  • accuracy of records
    If this is going to start including info re: exams, dr's comments/dictation, they better start giving patients some rights to review and correct mis-information! Patients would be amazed at the inaccuracies in doctors letters, patient's notes, etc that get sent out following visits!

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