Date: 10/6/2011

Hospitals connect to IHIE to Enhance Patient Care and Safety

Community Healthcare System hospitals have joined the nation’s largest electronic health information exchange enabling physicians secure access around-the-clock to patient information critical to diagnosis, treatment and referrals.

As more hospitals and physicians adopt electronic medical record systems, valuable health information is no longer locked away in a paper chart in a doctor’s office. By transferring data through a secure electronic health information exchange, physicians will have quick and reliable access to patient health records when and where they need them.

“By connecting our hospitals and physicians to the healthcare community at a regional and state level, patients will have greater assurances that information about their health, regardless of where they receive care, will be accessible to their providers,” said John Gorski, Chief Operating Officer for the Community Healthcare System that includes Community Hospital in Munster; St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.

The Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) operates one of the most respected clinical messaging services providing results from participating hospitals, laboratories, long-term care facilities, radiology centers and other healthcare organizations. More than 80 hospitals in the state are now participating in this health information exchange. The hospitals of the Community Healthcare System will begin electronically transmitting results from laboratory results in October and will send expanded patient information beginning in January, 2012.

With health information now immediately accessible to physicians and other providers, results of past medical tests will be available, eliminating the need for duplicate tests. Also, comprehensive lists of medications are available that can help prevent drug interactions. If a patient is in an accident and unable to explain their health history; physicians will be able to access information electronically and can make quicker informed decisions. In the event hospital records are destroyed by a natural disaster, healthcare providers will have access to information that is safely stored in electronic form, ensuring uninterrupted care of patients.

“We welcome the hospitals of Community Healthcare System to our growing network,” said Harold J. Apple, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Indiana Health Information Exchange. “These latest additions confirm the value of the service, and reinforce the hospitals’ commitment to providing the best in healthcare possible to their patients.”

IHIE securely stores patient information from hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, laboratories, imaging centers, clinics, community health centers and other healthcare organizations. Results can be viewed by the healthcare team through a web-based portal or delivered directly into an electronic medical record system. Through the exchange, healthcare providers can find lab results, radiology reports, transcriptions, pathology and hospital admissions reports, discharge and transfer reports from all other participating Indiana hospitals, physician practices, labs and radiology centers.

The use of electronic medical records is intended to increase patient safety and enhance healthcare efficiency. All Community Healthcare System hospitals and many of its physician practices utilize Epic, one of the nation’s leading electronic medical record systems.

“Our partnership with IHIE enables us to take the next steps toward realizing the many benefits of getting patient records stored in many different locations converted into electronic data that can be securely access by everyone involved in a patients’ care,” Gorski said. “We look forward to working with IHIE using these advances in medical information technology to improve the experience of healthcare and enhance the care our patients receive.”

IHIE is one of the nation’s best models for use of healthcare information. The agency was first established in 2004 to help lower Indiana’s skyrocketing healthcare expenses and improve the state’s consistent poor rankings in health conditions relating to heart disease, smoking, diabetes and obesity. IHIE partners with Regenstrief Institute’s renowned technology infrastructure to create solutions that improve healthcare delivery.

IHIE’s groundbreaking work was recognized in 2010 when the exchange was chosen to be among the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Beacon Communities, serving as a model for the rest of the country. The Beacon Community Cooperative Agreement Program provides funding to 17 selected
communities throughout the United States that have already made inroads in the development of secure, private, and accurate systems of electronic health record (EHR) adoption and health information exchange.

For more information on how the hospitals of Community Healthcare System are changing the patient care experience, visit us online at or follow us on Twitter @CHSHospitals.