July 10, 2008

Four Munster, Ind.-Area Hospitals Join State Health Info Exchange

By Susan Erler, The Times, Munster, Ind.

Jul. 10--Four area hospitals have joined an exchange system for delivering lab reports and other information online, bypassing traditional mail or courier delivery.

The Sisters of St. Francis-affiliated St. Anthony hospitals in Crown Point and Michigan City and St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers in Hammond and Dyer this month became part of the Indiana Health Information Exchange.

The central-Indiana based nonprofit corporation's DOCS4DOCS service delivers radiology, laboratory and other reports to doctors' offices.

The electronically sent information "gets routed to physicians in real time," said Shaun Granis, a researcher with the Regenstrief Institute, a think tank that formulated technology used in the information exchange.

"The hope is it will serve our staff physicians in a way that will enable them to serve their patients better," Sisters of St. Francis Region Chief Executive Officer Gene Diamond said.

The Sisters of St. Francis network, which also operates hospitals in Indianapolis and in other communities in Indiana and Illinois, has talked with other Northwest Indiana hospitals about joining the information exchange, Diamond said.

"Our hope is they come on board," he added.

The Indiana Health Information Exchange was formed in 2004 with about 10 Indiana hospitals as its first participants, Granis said.

The network has grown to include 34 Indiana hospitals, Granis said. The DOCS4DOCS service delivers an average 1.4 million messages each month to nearly 10,000 physicians.


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