INDIANAPOLIS and SOUTH BEND - INDIANAPOLIS, SOUTH BEND -- Two health information exchanges in Indiana have announced plans to consolidate, a step they say will help with the electronic sharing of patient data between healthcare providers and reduce costs.

Indianapolis-based Indiana Health Information Exchange and South Bend-based Michiana Health Information Network announced their intent to create one statewide HIE, effective January 1.

An HIE helps to facilitate access to and retrieval of clinical data between medical practices and health systems. For a patient, an exchange allows a primary care physician to share a patient’s information electronically with a specialist the patient may be seeing, assisting with continuity of care.

“MHIN and IHIE have been collaborating on projects over the past few years and work very well together,” said Kelly Hahaj, chief executive officer of the Michiana Health Information Network. “It was apparent that we could be better and stronger together and have bigger impact on supporting healthcare in Indiana.” 

From a practical perspective, office staff doesn’t need to manually print or scan health records. An HIE also eliminates the need for the physical mailing of patient charts and records.

The organizations say it reduces office costs and saves time.

“The evolution of national interoperability is driving the need for HIEs to adapt, but also creating opportunities for new HIE value propositions,” said John Kansky, president and CEO of the Indiana Health Information Exchange. 

According to Indiana HIE, the state’s third operation, Bloomington-based HealthLINC, is also part of this state-wide consolidation.  HealthLINC began transitioning its customers to IHIE in mid-2019. 

“Being able to easily transmit medical information among the care team, no matter where they are located, clearly contributes to better coordination of care and results,” said Brian Shockney, president, South Central Region, Indiana University Health.

All MHIN employees will become IHIE employees at the beginning of the new year. The growing Indiana Health Information Exchange will have offices in both Indianapolis and South Bend, Indiana.