iSpecimen and DHIN Announce Novel Program to Support Medical Research
Union Hospital Signs Up As First Program Participant
Lexington, MA and Dover, DE – iSpecimen, a trusted source of customized human biospecimen collections and the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN), the nation’s first operational statewide health information exchange (HIE), recently announced a novel collaboration to support medical research.
The joint program allows hospitals and labs in the DHIN network to easily repurpose remnant clinical specimens – samples that would otherwise be discarded once patient testing is complete – into medical research programs, while reducing their costs to participate in DHIN. The organizations also announced Union Hospital as the first DHIN member to participate in the joint program.
Through this program, healthcare information from participating DHIN members is de-identified and matched to corresponding remnant specimens at these provider sites. The specimens and their data are then searchable in real-time using iSpecimen’s unique technology. When matches are made, iSpecimen’s technology instructs laboratory personnel at participating provider sites to pick and ship the specimens to iSpecimen’s research customers instead of discarding them as they usually do once clinical testing is complete. Hospitals choosing to take part in the program make a critically important contribution to the acceleration of biomedical research and also benefit from reduced DHIN fees, which may be put back into hospital operations.
As patient-centricity and consumer-directed care have continued to increase in importance across the healthcare landscape, it is critical to note that the patient has a central role in this program. Only samples from patients who have expressly consented to participate are considered for an active research project. All samples from patients who have not provided consent are excluded and suppressed from consideration.
“The value of digitizing medical data extends beyond the obvious value of supporting direct patient care,” said Jan Lee, MD, CEO, DHIN. “With informed patient consent, digital data can also help match clinical specimens with very specific research criteria. DHIN is proud to play a role in supporting such efforts to find new breakthrough treatments and cures. We are delighted to have iSpecimen as a technology partner and to have Union Hospital as the first adopter of this innovative program.”
“Union Hospital is thrilled to kick off this initiative and begin to reap value that can be put back into care,” said Anne Lara, EdD, RN, CNE, CPHIMS, CIO, Union Hospital. “As a small community hospital, it’s great to know that we can make a significant impact in this way by helping researchers accelerate medical discoveries to help patients now and in the future.”
As the country’s first operational statewide HIE, DHIN has made a sizable impact on the quality, cost, and continuity of care in its region. DHIN serves all acute care hospitals, major laboratories, and radiology facilities in Delaware, along with all skilled nursing facilities and approaching 100% of ordering physicians. More than 14 million clinical results and reports are delivered through DHIN each year, with the number of unique patients exceeding 2.1 million, including residents from all 50 states. Its viability within the HIE landscape has been exemplary and DHIN is pioneering a model of innovation and sustainability for the HIE community. The organization saw this collaboration with iSpecimen as a unique way to leverage the HIE past the point-of-care and continue making a positive impact in medicine.
“Bringing our state-of-the-art technology to DHIN represents our first foray outside of a hospital, lab, or biobank,” explained Christopher Ianelli, MD, PhD, CEO, iSpecimen. “What’s really great is that by leveraging an HIE as the data aggregator, we’re making it easier for healthcare organizations to become part of the iSpecimen network by virtually eliminating their need to do any IT implementation. Requiring virtually no startup resources on the hospital or lab’s part, we can turn their specimen waste into valuable research material and make it visible to the scientific community.”
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