The inaugural Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge (HHIC) was billed as an opportunity to identify, discuss and resolve real-world healthcare problems while helping to commercialize solutions. As the winner of the 2012 challenge, I can tell you that was not an empty promise.

Diagnotes, as one of more than 20 Indiana-based health information technology teams involved in the HHIC, worked with Franciscan Alliance and Indiana Health Information Technology Inc. to create an information technology solution that allows emergency room personnel to coordinate discharge follow-ups and provides clinical documents to providers for high-risk patients. This healthcare communication problem and resulting challenge came directly from hospital executives, decision-makers and clinicians who live and breathe the delivery of quality patient care, which can be enhanced – or compromised – by how information flows.

This is a crucial health information challenge. According to a Journal of Hospital Medicine study, nearly 50 percent of patients experienced at least one medical error as a result of a communication breakdown that led to a hospital readmission within 30 days of discharge. Clearly, for patient safety and quality of care, not to mention for controlling healthcare costs and liability, this is a problem that needs a solution.

This mounting, nationally significant health information disconnect was not lost on us. Last year, the Diagnotes development and executive team was closing in on the final stages of its Diagnotes platform, which is today a single mobile clinical communication system that delivers critical patient information and facilitates secure communication of information among healthcare providers.

Learn about this week's Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge and Hoosier Code 4 Health events.

As we assembled our cross-functional team to tackle this information technology challenge, we quickly realized the value of working closely with healthcare professionals and executives from a leading Indiana hospital system. These experts are on the front lines, working with patients and fellow healthcare providers; they know the pain points, the day-to-day needs, and the nuances of clinical workflow. Their on-the-ground insights gave us the information needed to perfect and expand the functionality of our Diagnotes system.

The Diagnotes system had been developed to meet the needs of on-call physicians, who often receive information from a remote location on their mobile phones.  There is documented need for this technology, as more than 49 million after-hours telephone medicine encounters occur between patients and physicians each year in the United States, according to a study by Shersten Killip, MD, MPH, et al. in Family Medicine. Outside of traditional office hours, it’s often difficult to access a patient’s medical records and to document the outcomes of the patient encounter. In fact, according to Killip’s study, 95 percent of encounters between patients and on-call physicians were never documented in any medical record. The opportunities for medical errors, in-efficient patient care, increased healthcare costs and liability are significant.

While working with Franciscan Alliance we uncovered more opportunities for the Diagnotes system. We came to better understand how patient care is coordinated and how information flows once a patient is discharged. We could see, first-hand, the gaps and challenges they faced every day. Why not expand our technology to also allow patient information to be shared among healthcare providers through secure text messaging? This broadened our thinking and eventually our technology platform.

Diagnotes recently closed on $1 million in Series A funding from life sciences and early-stage growth company investors. We are well on our way in our commercialization efforts for the Diagnotes system. We aren’t shy about giving credit to the healthcare providers and hospital administrators who were by our side during the development process. It’s with their input, guidance and feedback that we know our health information technology system meets their specific needs.

The Hoosier Healthcare Innovation Challenge played a large role in our development efforts, resulting in a single mobile clinical communication system that addresses the need for secure communication, remote patient information and encounter documentation in a wide variety of clinical contexts.

Dave Wortman, an experienced tech executive and entrepreneur, is CEO of Diagnotes Inc., an Indianapolis-based mobile health information technology provider.

Diagnotes offers a single system that ensures clinicians have access to key patient information and secure communication channels no matter where they are. Finally, to close the loop on each encounter, documentation takes just seconds. It’s this combination of features that sets Diagnotes apart. Diagnotes is HIPAA-compliant, cloud-hosted, and EHR-agnostic. Learn more about how it works.