- HealthLINC, initially Bloomington E-Health Collaborative (BEHC), began operations in October 2007.
- There are more than 150,000 patients in the community patient index.
- HealthLINC sends more than 175,000 secure clinical results per month.
- Physicians contributed signiﬁcantly to the vision, structure, and start up costs for HealthLINC.
- HealthLINC is a collaborative community partner with The Health Collaborative of Cincinnati (HealthBridge).
In 2003 only 0-3% of the medical practices used an EMR in Monroe and Orange Counties in Indiana. By 2009, more than 50% of the physician practices in Monroe and an amazing 76% of the practices in Orange had functional electronic medical records for their patients. This progress was directly facilitated by HealthLINC activities.
HealthLINC (formerly the Bloomington E-Health Collaborative) led a formal community selection process in 2006-7 that involved more than 65 participants. Ultimately, HealthBridge (now a part of The Health Collaborative) and Axolotl were selected as technology infrastructure partners. In October of 2007, HealthLINC become operational and has consistently increased the depth and breadth of its secure Health Information Exchange (HIE) network.
HealthLINC serves as a regional HIE that provides a secure results delivery system that delivers more than 175,000 medical results per month among the hospitals, office and clinic practices, and under-served clinics. This system reduces redundant testing and “turns the paper off” resulting in cost savings. These systems also benefit the community by reducing the incidence of lost or misplaced test results and ensure timely medical action is taken if needed. HealthLINC’s efforts have set the stage for care coordination improvements via current use of HIT such as Clinical Messaging and data connected EMR to provide service provider connectivity. HealthLINC has created a health service directory that includes more than 350 physicians and other providers.
HealthLINC is a true community collaboration that includes 85% of the community physicians and has benefited from funding directly from the physician community. Community partners are numerous and include IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Centerstone of Indiana, Premier Healthcare/Internal Medicine Associates, Southern Indiana Radiological Associates, Indiana University Health Center, Cook Family Health Clinic, and Volunteers in Medicine of Monroe County.
In 2008, a large grant was secured by HealthLINC to assist with EMR implementation for the Paoli region, including Orange County Hospital efforts with McKesson, Southern Indiana Community Healthcare adoption of Allscripts, and Southern Hills Counseling Center initiating its first EMR for behavioral health. This spanned 3 years.
Health Information Exchange creates the opportunity for improved care coordination. HealthLINC regularly analyzes statistics including total results/month per practice, results/month at the community level, and the number of practices with clinical messaging. In 2010, we were privileged to be partners with HealthBridge and Northeast Kentucky RHIO to receive a large Regional Extension Center grant to provide Meaningful Use support across southern Indiana, part of Ohio and a section of Kentucky; this collaborative group, named TriState REC, served many many office practices and small hospitals over the following 5 years.
In 2012, we introduced Direct and Care Alerts for this region. Direct allowed for secure emailing between care providers, a new and powerful concept. Using Direct as the method of delivery, HealthBridge initiated Care Alerts to assure practices were made aware when their patients sought care at the hospital, either emergency department or inpatient. This has allowed for much better transition of care and has reduced medication errors and readmissions. With some grant funding, HealthLINC worked with Centerstone to start Care Alerts for behavioral health, a first in Indiana and maybe in the nation. It continues to be a powerful service with financial and patient care benefits.
HealthLINC has made a special effort to improve care coordination for under-served populations including the un-insured and patients with chronic mental illness. Our network includes the majority of these providers in a 4 county region with a goal of 100% inclusion of these fragile populations.
Community Care of North Carolina chose HealthLINC in 2013 for a partnership in a grant to demonstrate value of knowing medications across providers in the community. The value demonstrated continues to incite us to build and develop this effort more completely today. Reducing medication errors saves lives. The work is hard but the taste of the outcome from CCNC demands we strive onward.
Throughout the years, HealthLINC has served as a preceptor site for a variety of college students. From Wabash pre-med to IU Public Health Master's, DePauw to IUPUI informatics, the students find value in projects and an inclusive environment for learning. Though small, several students have joined at least for starter jobs the team. This will continue to be a focus of this community minded HIE.