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Wishard and St. Vincent physicians honored at White House event

All rights reserved Kevin Foster

All rights reserved Kevin Foster

Dr. Harris, who is the John F. Williams Jr., M.D., Scholar, associate professor of medicine and associate dean for Wishard Affairs at the Indiana University School of Medicine, was joined by Alan Snell, M.D., chief medical informatics officer for St. Vincent Health, in being recognized at the event.

During the Town Hall, senior White House and HHS officials discussed progress and barriers to a national health IT system and the meaningful use of electronic health records.

 “I am honored to join Dr. Snell in representing the Indiana Health Information Exchange and the Central Indiana Beacon Community at the White House,” Dr. Harris said. “Indiana is recognized as a national leader in health IT. I was pleased to be sharing how what we’re doing right here in our community is helping to enhance the effectiveness, quality, efficiency and safety of health care delivered across the country.”

Under the leadership of Drs. Harris and Snell, Wishard and St. Vincent have been active in the Central Indiana Beacon Community since its launch in 2010. Efforts in the program’s 46-county region are centrally organized by the Indiana Health Information Exchange, with funding from the Office of the National Coordinator. The goals of the program are to drive improvements for patients and the community by supporting:

  • Better chronic disease management.
  • Better utilization of health care services.
  • Timely preventive care services.
  • Meaningful use of health information technology.
  • A real-world national health IT model that achieves measurable and sustainable improvements.

“Dr. Harris and Dr. Snell are trailblazers for improving health care through the implementation of innovative health IT solutions,” said Harold J. Apple, CEO and president of Indiana Health Information Exchange. “We are fortunate to have such dedicated health advocates in Indiana committed to establishing a health information exchange model for the nation.”

The funded portion of the three-year Central Indiana Beacon Community is still months away from completion; however, early results in Central Indiana are showing positive signs of improvements. For example, one of the program’s targets is to increase the percentage of patients receiving colorectal cancer screenings. In March 2010, before the Beacon program, 57.54 percent of the measured population received the necessary procedure. As of December 31, 2011, more than 66 percent of patients who needed the test were screened, representing an 8.5 percent increase.