Indiana, Ohio link health exchanges

For the first time, information is flowing between separate regional networks.

By Pamela Lewis Dolan — Posted Oct. 2, 2009

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As of September, two health information exchanges in Indiana and one in Ohio began exchanging data with each other.

The linkup among Indiana Health Information Exchange of Indianapolis, HealthLINC of Bloomington, Ind., and HealthBridge of Cincinnati marks what the networks say is the first time separate regional health information exchanges are sharing data. Federal officials and others hope to build a national health information network in this way, with regional networks linking up and sharing data.

All three organizations have been up and running and exchanging information within their own regions for several years. But they are now capable of sending information among all three networks using information standards to enable the transfer.

The collaboration between all three organizations was the result of a 2007 contract awarded to HealthBridge, HealthLINC and the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute, which helped develop IHIE.

The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator awarded the contract through the National Health Information Network to start the exchange of summary patient records to demonstrate the capabilities between HIEs.

The networks are now able to exchange clinical test results, reports and other types of data and information.

"This connectivity among communities will undoubtedly mean fewer repeated tests and better care coordination between rural and urban providers," said J. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of IHIE.

The three networks bring together 15,000 physicians, 50 hospitals and 12 million patient records.

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