50 Years

The Regenstrief Institute was founded in 1969 with the mission of improving the quality of health and healthcare for everyone.

The past 50 years have yielded opportunities for groundbreaking research and critical innovations. Please join us as we reflect on key moments in our history and prepare for the future.

Regenstrief Institute officially founded by Sam and Myrtie Regenstrief

Regenstrief Institute was founded in 1969 by philanthropist and businessman Sam Regenstrief and his wife Myrtie.

The Dishwasher King

An efficiency expert, Sam perfected the performance and manufacturing of the home dishwasher and owned a very successful manufacturing business.

After personally experiencing the inefficiency and inequity of healthcare, Sam and Myrtie sought to improve the quality for everyone. They established the Regenstrief Institute as a living laboratory to explore solutions to healthcare’s toughest problems.

Blazing a trail: A new way to collect and access patient data

Regenstrief Medical Record System, an integrated inpatient and outpatient information system, was established in the Wishard Diabetes clinic. The record system was a data repository for laboratory results, health measurements, clinical notes, and other clinical data. That information was available at any computer work station in the system.

Open for business: Regenstrief Health Center opens

The Regenstrief Health Center opens for outpatient clinical services as a primary care facility, offering medical care to adults and children. Researchers begin their work to find new ways to improve healthcare delivery.

The center also provided state-of-the-art new quarters for the Regenstrief Institute for Healthcare Research and its fledgling staff. Regenstrief was an early adopter of the Steelcase Series 9000 ®, a line of panels and worksurfaces to facilitate open concept and geared toward computerized offices.

Medical Gopher makes a home

One of the first computerized physician order entry systems, Medical Gopher was implemented in Wishard Hospital in 1986. The system allowed doctors to enter prescriptions and office notes, as well as find general medical and patient specific information. The system was in use at Wishard/Eskenazi Health for three decades.

Getting on the same page: first medical coding standard developed

Logical Observation Identifier Names and Codes, or LOINC, is a freely available international standard for exchanging electronic data. Led by Clem McDonald, M.D., a team from Regenstrief Institute established LOINC to foster interoperability as more clinical data was sent electronically.

Exchanging information: Indiana Network for Patient Care launched

A grant from the National Library of Medicine provided the spark and funding for the launch of the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC). The INPC contains data from participating healthcare systems from across the state, allowing providers at different facilities to access patient data. The INPC officially began operating in 1998. In 2004, the Indiana Health Information Exchange was created to manage the infrastructure for delivering health records between facilities.

Improving with age: Center for Aging Research established

Established in collaboration with Indiana University, the Center for Aging Research focuses on the problems of aging. It develops, tests, and implements innovative strategies to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare and self-care for older adults.

Curating data for research: Regenstrief Data Core established

Regenstrief scientist Bill Tierney, M.D., established the Regenstrief Data Core as a central point of access for data from the Indiana Network for Patient Care (INPC) and other specialized sources. Data Core analysts work with researchers to extract information and create usable datasets to answer research questions.

VA connection established

Research scientist and attending neurologist Linda Williams, M.D., receives national funding from Veterans Affairs to establish a Quality Enhancement Research Initiative around stroke care at Roudebush VA Medical Center. That same year, Bill Tierney, M.D., and colleagues secure funding through the Research Enhancement Award Program to connect Regenstrief’s data acumen with the important health services research being done at Roudebush VA Medical Center.

Open MRS logo

Opening doors to healthcare: OpenMRS created

Regenstrief researchers played a leading role in the creation of OpenMRS (Open Medical Record System), an open-source platform designed by a community of users to maximize interoperable exchange of information both within and between health systems.
The system is implemented in more than 80 countries and is the de-facto approach to implementing patient-level record systems in resource constrained environments.

OPTIMISTIC about the future

OPTIMISTIC was created as part of a national Demonstration Project from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The goal was to improve nursing home care and create better outcomes for residents by keeping them out of the hospital and in the hands of on-site nurses.

Improving quality of care in nursing homes

The first phase led to a 33% reduction in the number of avoidable hospitalizations.

New home, new opportunities: Regenstrief Institute moves into new facility

Regenstrief Institute moved into a new 80,000 square foot building on the campus of the Indiana University School of Medicine. It allowed research scientists and staff to consolidate into one building, facilitating better collaboration.

Responding to the Opioid Crisis: Indiana Addictions Data Commons

Regenstrief began collaborating with a number of partners to lower barriers to data access through the Indiana Addiction Data Commons. The data commons combines data from numerous sources to help inform research and policy in response to the growing opioid crisis in Indiana.

The First 50 Years

As we reflect on the first 50 years, we remember the people that made it all possible.

The Next 50 Years

In the five decades since Sam Regenstrief commenced his mission to change the delivery of healthcare and established the Regenstrief Institute, the world has gone from one of easy-to-misplace and cumbersome-to-use paper medical records to one with easier to update, more accessible electronic health records (EHRs) that assist clinicians and other healthcare professionals to provide better care. Today thousands of vendors in the EHR and health information space compete for business as the rate of healthcare data in the U.S. doubles every 73 days.

When the Regenstrief Health Center opened in 1975, outpatient care was the wave of the future. Today Regenstrief Institute researchers are helping to expand medical precision beyond the estimated 10-20% of health impacted by medical care into the genetic, social and behavioral determinants of health

As Sam Regenstrief's efficient manufacture of the front-loading automatic dishwasher transformed kitchens, his legacy will continue to enhance human health by improving the practice, outcomes and benefits of healthcare worldwide for the next 50 years and beyond.

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