In the mid-1990s, Marc Overhage had a problem.
He and other faculty members at Indiana University School of Medicine were seeing dozens of patients from central Indiana at different hospitals. As Overhage and the other doctors moved from hospital to hospital, so did their patients.
But their records didn't.
"The poor doctormedidn't often have their records. It's a very practical problem," said Overhage, who helped form the Indiana Health Information Exchange in 2004.
The Health Information Exchange since has taken up the daunting task of linking all hospitals, pharmacies, private laboratories and other medical facilities with one another to share patient information. The goal, Overhage said, is to prevent duplication of services, create more efficient healthcare and, ultimately, improve the quality of patients' lives.
"It's been a model for the rest of the country, frankly. The approaches (IHIE) has taken have been shared widely," said Janet Marchibroda, chief executive of eHealth Initiative, a not-for-profit group based in Washington that supports expanded use of more medical data technology.
The eHealth Initiative was one of many organizations that gave the Indiana Health Information Exchange early seed moneyroughly $700,000 since 2003. The federal government has put up about $2 million in grants to help promote more efficient healthcare informatics in Indiana, and BioCrossroads and private groups gave the Indiana Health Information Exchange $1 million.
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