The Regenstrief Institute, an electronic medical records and health information exchange research group, is licensing its Indiana Network for Patient Care and DOCS4DOCS clinical results delivery software to a subsidiary of the Indiana Health Information Exchange. Officials are billing the licensing agreement as the single most significant transfer of discovery out of an academic medical informatics research setting to a commercial enterprise in the history of Indiana's HIT sector and the national evolution of health information exchange.
The INPC is among the largest and longest-running health information exchanges in the United States. Since 2004, IHIE has been responsible for increasing the number of Indiana hospitals (currently 94) and physicians (currently more than 25,000 in 17 states) using the INPC and DOCS4DOCS while creating a sustainable business model, operating independent of grant funding. Created by Regenstrief Institute's Center for Biomedical Informatics, the INPC handles, on an average day, more than half a million secure transactions of clinically important data -- including medical histories, laboratory test results, medication records, treatment reports -- in a standardized, electronic format.
"Improving health care outcomes and efficiency is our mission, and Regenstrief has a 40-year legacy of developing innovative solutions to accomplish that mission," said Regenstrief investigator Shaun Grannis, MD, associate professor of family medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine, in a statement. "We want to continue our focus on ground-breaking innovation in the rapidly evolving field of informatics research and development. We are licensing INPC software to IHIE, a commercial entity with whom we have closely partnered since its inception. With exclusive use of the INPC software, IHIE will be well-equipped to leverage their efforts and expand beyond Indiana. With growth comes opportunity for even greater and more impactful innovations."
[See also: HL7 and Regenstrief Institute connect on standards.]
IHIE's nonprofit charter supports in-state efforts. To fully realize the potential of the INPC and DOCS4DOCS software platforms, IHIE has formed a for-profit subsidiary company to expand the use of the technology beyond state borders. Regenstrief will continue to conduct research using data from Indiana sources. The subsidiary may be able to use discoveries resulting from this research for commercial application purposes, creating a cycle of discovery, innovation and growth.
"The relationship between researcher and entrepreneur has never been more important than it is right now in the area of health information technology," said Harold J. Apple, president and CEO for IHIE, in a statement. "Our partnership with Regenstrief is symbiotic. We depend on the brilliance of their physician researchers to discover new ways to solve complex health IT problems, and they, in turn, rely on us to transfer and prove those discoveries in the marketplace. Together, we have great potential to make a significant and lasting impact on our nation's healthcare system."
"Healthcare is an information business," William Tierney, MD, president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute, said in a news release. "Improving the infrastructure within which doctors and other health care providers work allows Regenstrief to have a positive effect on Hoosiers' health care and its outcomes. This new level of partnership with IHIE and its new for-profit subsidiary allows us to impact the lives of Americans living far beyond Indiana's borders."
For example, when a patient visits the emergency room of an INPC member hospital, providers can access information from prior visits to any INPC institution as one virtual medical record. Access to patients' complete medical history helps physicians provide better care more efficiently. More than 75 percent of Indiana hospitals have joined the INPC.
The INPC now allows medical providers across much of the state to securely obtain patients' medical histories, providing information critical to patient care. INPC participants include hospital systems, ambulatory care provider groups, laboratories, imaging centers and payers. Through the subsidiary, IHIE plans to replicate this model of connecting disparate health care facilities to make patient information available when and where it is needed most.
"The overall goal of both Regenstrief and IHIE is for a patient's electronic information to follow wherever that patient goes for healthcare," Tierney said.