Indiana RHIO connects to measure quality of care

By Emily Bowen
12:00 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Health Information Exchange aims to improve patient care and increase connectivity with its newest program, Quality Health First.

“This confluence of improving patient care and addressing problems in the healthcare system is exciting,” said J. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD, president and CEO of the exchange. “We are emphasizing the value of healthcare systems and supporting interoperability.”

The exchange’s new program increases access to medical information for Indiana healthcare providers by pulling claims data from various sources, including the Indiana Network for Patient Care, a health information network powered by RxHub, Initiate Systems and the Regenstrief Institute.

RxHub and Regenstrief have access to prescription and medical information for more than 160 million individuals and access to more than 90 clinical databases, respectively.

To promote provider performance, IHIE will use its clinical messaging system to send patient treatment reminders to physicians, send out monthly comparison reports on physicians and their peers, and submit provider performance data to payers. Seven payer groups purchase healthcare provider information from IHIE, and Overhage hopes these efforts will supply sufficient funds to improve clinical environments.

Overhage said he believes the Indiana healthcare community supports the new program but is waiting to see how its works in practice.

“Healthcare providers have a quiet optimism about Quality Health First,” he said. “They are 100 percent behind the principles to deliver high quality healthcare, but they have concerns on how good the data will be.”

IHIE received a $2 million grant from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation as well as additional funding from a number of local health plans, for the program. Leonard J. Betley, president of the Fairbanks Foundation, said Quality Health First offers a unique platform.

“We want to help build a research-friendly, community-wide database that will give IHIE a competitive edge in research capabilities and economic development,” Betley said.

One of the largest regional health organizations in the country, IHIE will launch a pilot for Quality Health First during the next several months, delivering online reports to several dozen physicians. Planners hope to complete the pilot phase by mid-2007.