How the Indiana Health Information Exchange is charting a course toward profit

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The following is an excerpt from an article published in the FierceHealthIT eBook "Key Lessons in Health Information Exchange." Download the eBook here to read more.

As health information exchanges spring up all over in response to regulations such as Meaningful Use and shifting payment models, the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) recommends healthcare leaders take a breath, stop fixating on the technology and instead figure out what pays.

"There must be a laser focus on the value proposition and sustainability of each service that HIEs are providing," says Keith Kelly, IHIE vice president of professional services.

Because of the HITECH program and its specific technology criteria, "HIEs are giving things away to create interest and excitement; the risk there is the customers are not valuing those services if they're given for free."

The Indianapolis-based HIE knows its stuff. Attracting paying customers with services they value enough to buy, Kelly says, is "at the very core" of everything IHIE has done since its founding in 2004 by five hospitals and other health-related organizations in the Indianapolis area. Today, 63 hospitals statewide are connected and that number is set to hit 93 by 2013.

Fueled by a subscription model that caps customer costs to encourage greater participation, a clinical-results service launched in 2004 now delivers more than 6 million messages a month to 20,000 doctors. A service for emergency departments searches through a central data repository and aggregates records on individual patients from multiple providers, sending summaries to doctors authorized to request them.

Growth begets more opportunities for growth. In 2006, the exchange began building a program to analyze clinical data within the data repository--now at more than 1 million patients--and its Quality Health First service turns out reports, alerts and reminders to physician practices on their patient populations. Data from area payers is added to the repository, enabling a caliber of analysis "unique in the country," says Kelly.

Quality measurement performance is aggregated regionally for comparisons as well as publicly reported on the IHIE website.

To read the rest of this and other articles, download FierceHealthIT's free eBook, "Key Lessons in Health Information Exchange."