Dr. Tom Inui will step down as CEO of the Regenstrief Institute Inc. on Oct. 1 and will be replaced by Dr. Bill Tierney, a 30-year veteran of Regenstrief. Inui, 67, has led the medical research organization since 2002, right as it changed its legal structure to give it freedom to partner with other organizations. During Inui’s tenure, Regenstrief doubled its annual budget to $29 million and doubled its staff to nearly 200. After he steps down, Inui is expected to replace Tierney as head of the Indiana University-AMPATH program, an initiative of Regenstrief and the IU School of Medicine that cares for HIV patients in Kenya.
IBJ: What were Regenstrief’s biggest accomplishments during your tenure as CEO?
A: There are several. Perhaps the most significant one was with the Indiana Health Information Exchange [IHIE]. I formulated the proposition [along with BioCrossroads and some consultants] that there should be something organized that is now known as IHIE. Being the godfather of IHIE is a big accomplishment. IHIE in today’s world means a great deal nationally in the development of regional health information exchange. And a second one is growth. We’ve doubled in size. We’ve become a global organization. We’re a collaboration center for the World Health Organization. Also, we’ve become more meaningful to the health of the people of Indiana.
IBJ: In 2002, the concept of electronic medical records and health information exchange seemed obscure. Now it’s talked about regularly in mainstream news media. Why has this shift occurred and what will its impact be?
A: People are vigorously looking for something that will bend the health care cost and quality curve. You can count on one hand the ways to do that. The one that people are trying to do is health information exchange and decision support to change patterns of care. Health information technology is having its day in the spotlight because people are wanting to see it fulfill its promise. I’m really pleased that that happened, and I think that we had a role in bringing this technology forward. First, we invented the electronic medical record [at Wishard Memorial Hospital] and showed that it can improve health care quality. Now, in this next chapter, we’re going to try to prove it can bend the curve.
IBJ: What’s next for you at Regenstrief after you step aside for Bill Tierney?
A: This is kind of a do-si-do. I’m taking Bill’s responsibility [pending the OK from Regenstrief’s partners in Kenya]. I wanted to apply my energy in a setting where there were vulnerable populations. I’ll spend a minimum of four months in Kenya. [Also], I’ll be responsible for research programs inside the Indiana University Center for Global Health.