Health clinics play key role in Indiana quality, Beacon programs

By Mary Mosquera
02:01 PM

Health centers in Indiana that offer care for medically underserved individuals participate in the Indiana Health Information Exchange and have a large role in its quality initiative and Beacon Community Program.

The Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) is a non-profit corporation formed by the Regenstrief Institute, private hospitals, local and state health departments and other Indiana organizations to enable healthcare providers to share patient data.

Seven separate community health centers and federally qualified health centers in central Indiana, including Open Door Health Services, Boone County Community Clinic and HealthNet, and one in the northwest section of the state, Northshore Health Center, take part in the Quality Health First Program, according to an IHIE announcement June 21.

Providers in the program securely receive a one-page snapshot of a patient’s recommended tests and screenings to help keep track of their health needs. The program is designed to help improve cancer screenings rates and to support management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and asthma.

The reports are based on clinical and claims data to supply the most up-to-date and relevant information available. Physicians can review and verify the information and reconcile missing or inaccurate data.

The Quality Health First Program is also the cornerstone of the Central Indiana Beacon Community, an effort led by IHIE. The Central Indiana Beacon Community is one of the 17 models funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT across the country to demonstrate improvements in the delivery of care using electronic health records and other health IT.

The program enables physicians to know exactly what additional care patients need, no matter why they originally visited their doctor, said Anthony Malone, Madison County Community Health Center president and CEO.

“This information is used to help proactively maintain the health of all our patients, and it is especially important in the care we provide to our most vulnerable patients," he said

A large part of the Beacon program is to focus on efforts that better support medically underserved populations, said Aaron McKethan, ONC’s Beacon Program Director.

“Additionally, we know that providing early interventions and consistent follow-up care to those patients with chronic diseases is a critical step to slowing the growth of health care spending,” he added.