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Health IT On the Rise in Indiana

While the Midwest isn’t exactly the heart of healthcare tech innovation, the Hoosier State has more to offer than the Indy 500. For instance, did you know the Indiana Health Information Exchange just happens to be the nation’s largest health information exchange? It connects 117 hospitals, more than 14,000 practices, and over 42,000 providers.

During the first half of 2017, Indiana was one of 25 states to win digital health investments from investors, according to Rock Health. Comparatively, the state wasn’t even among the 23 states that were home to startups that garnered funding during the first half of 2015.

The BioEnterprise Midwest Healthcare Growth Capital Report found Indiana attracted $41.46 million in healthcare investments in 2015. A year later, that number hit $88.84 million. So Indiana is slowly but surely becoming a hotbed of healthcare activity.

The year-over-year amount increased for the state’s capital as well. Indianapolis raked in $26.9 million in healthcare venture investments in 2015, compared to $74.3 million in 2016.

Unlike other parts of the country, where entrepreneurs more readily tout their achievements, in places like Indiana, the default is cautiousness. And that’s not a bad thing, said one startup executive.

“The mentality of the Midwest is good for health tech innovation,” Tammy Dugan, CTO of Digital Health Solutions LLC, an Indianapolis-based startup, said in a phone interview. “When people’s lives are on the line, you have to be a little cautious. Midwesterners tend to be cautious.”

Dugan and Dr. Stephen Downs, president of the startup, founded the company in collaboration with the Indiana University School of Medicine. Its core product is dubbed Child Health Improvement through Computer Automation — or CHICA for short.

It works like this: When a patient arrives for an appointment, the EHR system alerts CHICA, which then selects 20 questions tailored to the patient and family based on the information known about them from previous visits. While in the waiting room, the family answers the queries using a tablet. The questions are largely based on requirements from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They can span a range of topics, including substance use, depression, domestic violence, food insecurity, developmental issues and sleep habits.

Later, during the appointment, the physician can click a link in the EHR, which lets them visit CHICA and see the family’s answers. Based on the family’s responses, CHICA selects a few key issues for the physician to focus on during the appointment.

Though the software is intended for use in outpatient pediatric care settings, it could be altered to fit other needs. Digital Health Solutions currently counts IU Health and Eskenazi Hospital as its clients.

Another Indianapolis startup is also leveraging health IT to provide a deeper level of insight from a cost perspective. Springbuk’s health analytics platform is aimed at assisting employers, brokers, wellness vendors, and clinics so they can view data on the health of their population, track changes and see the cost risk.

While companies like Digital Health Solutions LLC and Springbuk are new to the scene, the aforementioned Indiana Health Information Exchange has been around for years.

Today, IHIE’s solutions include the OneCare and PopCare suites. “The OneCare piece helps providers care for individual patients, while PopCare helps take care of patients’ lives around payment models,” Chuck Christian, IHIE’s vice president of technology and engagement, said in a phone interview.

OneCare encompasses the CareWeb and DOCS4DOCS solutions. Through CareWeb, an IHIE physician can view patient information from other IHIE participant providers. DOCS4DOCS enables the delivery of clinical data to other IHIE customers.

PopCare is all about population health, giving IHIE clients access to analytics tools and clinical output products. It also includes alerts that notify a provider when a patient got care at another facility.

When healthcare organizations are interested in joining IHIE, Christian said the process starts with determining which services they want. Annual subscription fees are based on the size of the organization. They then go through an onboarding process.

Startups and health IT only scratch the surface of the healthcare activities going on in Indiana. In addition to research organizations such as Regenstrief Institute, the state has a rich life sciences landscape, with BioCrossroads, Eli Lilly and Roche Diagnostics’ US headquarters nestled in the state capital. One of the country’s top payers, Anthem, is based in Indianapolis as well.

“The state is blessed with high-quality healthcare,” Christian concluded. “There is an absolute wealth of healthcare-related business and expertise.”

This article was originally published by [MedCity News]: [here]