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Regenstrief Initiative to Boost Health Data Exchange for Research

A new initiative headed by the Regenstrief Institute aims to streamline health data exchange and access for improved medical research.

The Regenstrief Institute is launching a partnership to streamline health data exchange for improved medical research.

Source: Thinkstock

By Kate Monica

- The Regenstrief Institute is partnering with health IT developer MDClone, the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University Health, Eskenazi Health, and the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) to streamline health data exchange and access for use in medical research.

Regenstrief and Israel-based developer MDClone plan to shorten the time it takes for medical researchers to access biomedical data while preserving patient privacy to reduce the burden of health IT use and regulatory compliance.

“Regenstrief is already the data steward and broker for one of the largest sets of biomedical data used in research around the region and the globe,” said Regenstrief Institute President and CEO Peter Embi, MD.

“This partnership will enhance Regenstrief’s efforts to accelerate research and innovation by significantly shortening the time to deliver research-ready, privacy-preserving synthetic data, thereby enabling new discoveries, improving quality and reducing costs,” Embi added.

MDClone’s health IT solution streamlines data access and exchange by creating synthetic data sets based on original data used. The synthetic data set offers the same statistical insight as the original data, but does not contain any real patient information. In this way, researchers can observe trends and gain insights by analyzing synthetic data without posing any risks to patient privacy.

“Having been in the health care IT world for more than two decades, I’ve seen the impact of Regenstrief’s many groundbreaking contributions to the field,” said MDClone founder and CEO Ziv Ofek.

“I am privileged to begin working with Regenstrief, implementing MDClone’s innovative platform powered by our synthetic data engine that will fundamentally transform the use of data for improving health care throughout Indiana and beyond,” Ofek continued.

Regenstrief will apply MDClone’s technology to data it manages for its health system partners to improve health data exchange with researchers around the world. Regenstrief and MDClone will work with IHIE, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University of Health, and Eskenazi Health to develop data-driven initiatives that benefit medical research.

“Enabling the use of data for research is critical to producing new ideas and solutions for health care and for the overall health of the population,” said IHIE President and CEO John Kansky. “Improving access to clinical data for research scientists and providing timely, actionable knowledge is at the core of what Regenstrief has done throughout its history.”

“As data stewards dedicated to the support of research, we at IHIE will work closely with Regenstrief to demonstrate synthetic data’s potential to make health care better for Indiana’s citizens and providers,” said Kansky.

MDClone and Regenstrief are currently working to implement the data platform at Regenstrief to enable connectivity with researchers throughout the Institute, Indiana University, and other institutions.

“This is an extremely valuable opportunity for Regenstrief and its partners, and adds another dimension to our already considerable data capabilities and resources,” said Dr. Embi.

“Regenstrief and its partners have long been pioneers in health information exchange and research, and are entrusted with one of the largest sets of health care data in the world,” Embi continued. “This partnership should make Indiana and the region a magnet for data innovation nationally.”

Regenstrief is also in the midst of a multi-year study into the effects of health information exchange (HIE) use on patient health outcomes in emergency departments.

Scientists at the institute are using a two-year grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research (AHRQ) to fund research exploring whether patients are less likely to be hospitalized if emergency department providers have access to complete patient EHRs through an HIE.

Researchers will also investigate which healthcare providers participate in HIE use and the factors that motivate these providers to utilize data from HIEs.

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