A personal electronic health record is medical information about you that is stored in secure digital form on a computer or a network of computers. The goal of many in the health-care field is to have that information available instantly to health professionals wherever you are—even at The 500.
Imagine a gathering of more than 400,000 people, with many of their complete personal health records immediately available at the hospital right next door. That's what happened on May 24 this year at the Indy 500, the world's largest single-day sporting event, held in Indianapolis, Ind.
For the first time at any type of mass gathering, many of the people's Electronic Health Records were instantly, securely available to medical personnel at the world-famous Indy 500 motor race. That was especially true for all of those from Indiana—the state with the most electronically wired health records in the nation. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Clarian Emergency Medical Center had access to those records, thanks to the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC).
INPC is an electronic data-sharing system that allows physicians and emergency medical personnel access to individual patient records. It is made up of 15 hospitals, including all five major hospitals in the city of Indianapolis, and more than 100 clinics. Currently, it provides access to about 1.5 billion pieces of secure health data for most of the residents of the state of Indiana. The data include admission and discharge notes, lab test results, and other critical information.
The INPC was developed by Dr. Clement J. McDonald when he was at the Regenstrief Institute, a health-care research organization. The institute has close ties to the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Ind. Funding for the INPC came from the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine, where Dr. McDonald is currently Director of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications.
"Nowhere else in the nation has this capability," says John T. Finnell, M.D., Regenstrief Institute researcher and associate professor of emergency medicine at the IU School of Medicine. "Throughout May, leading up to The 500, we treat as many as 2,000 patients at the Clarian Center, caring for everything from blisters to heart attacks. The heart doctor can see what's been going on with a patient almost as soon he or she arrives."
Geoffrey L. Billows, M.D., medical director of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, adds, "The technology also gives us a record of the care provided for future reference by the patient's primary physicians or other health consultants."
Based on this year's success, the plan is to offer the INPC procedures for the 2012 Super Bowl, which Indianapolis will host.