Press Release

IU Health posts operational gains in 2018, advances goal of making Indiana a healthier state

February 28, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 28, 2019) – Indiana University Health strengthened its operational performance in 2018 as patient volumes rose while significant progress was achieved toward the aim of improving the health of Indiana.

“IU Health advanced its broad vision of making its home state a healthier place, by expanding programs for at-risk patients and building out a statewide health system that addresses the essential health needs of Hoosiers,” said Dennis Murphy, president and chief executive officer. “As the largest healthcare provider in Indiana, IU Health has committed more resources to expanding access to care, provided by our highly skilled team of professionals.”

Focus on population health and opioid abuse

To improve care to its growing patient base, IU Health focused resources in 2018 on population health, broadening access to care and enhanced patient safety. Patient harm events last year continued a reduction that has totaled 40 percent over the past three years.

In a state with one of the highest mortality rates from drug overdoses, IU Health expanded access to behavioral health and pain management services with the opening of the first of multiple planned outpatient clinics for substance abuse, and the deployment of “virtual” peer recovery coaches at emergency departments in smaller hospitals. Responding to the opioid epidemic, IU Health providers successfully reduced opioid pills prescribed by 14 percent last year from 2017, including by 36 percent in emergency departments.

As one of the largest hospital systems with a next-generation accountable care organization, IU Health manages care overall for 185,000 at-risk patients. In 2018, the ACO reduced unnecessary emergency room visits by providing more-effective home care and outpatient services. For population health programs, improved health measures were seen in nine of 11 key metrics, including childhood immunizations and A1c blood-sugar scores for diabetic patients. A telehealth initiative, launched in 2016 to provide a more convenient way to see a doctor, conducted more than half-a-million virtual encounters with patients, while doubling the number of service lines offering live telehealth encounters.

Workforce initiatives and clinical councils

IU Health continued to modernize work rules and training for its 34,000 employees, 41 percent of whom are millennials. A mobile-enabled online application process made it much simpler to apply for jobs. New career pathways for nurses and other positions allow easier movement and new opportunities for training and research. An updated dress code that gives team members more freedom to display their individuality was widely embraced by employees and patients.

“Workplace enhancements have helped create a more flexible and motivated workforce, which benefits personalized patient care,” said Michelle Janney, executive vice president, chief nurse executive and interim chief operating officer. “Moving to a values-based work culture from one that was rules-based has positioned our diverse workforce to adapt and react within the fast-changing healthcare environment.

Workplace initiatives included 16 newly formed clinical councils that have led a drive to standardize care, improve quality and pare unnecessary expenses statewide. Major enhancements to the electronic medical records system took effect in 2018, reducing time spent inputting data and affording doctors and nurses more face time with patients. Introduction of patient electronic surveys provided valuable feedback to use in improving delivery of care, including publicly posted online patient reviews of doctors.

In its unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine, IU Health made notable gains in 2018 to further its nonprofit mission of providing clinical care, research and education as Indiana’s most comprehensive healthcare provider.

  • Progress continued on a strategic growth plan in the core Indiana service area served by IU Health hospitals and partners. Jay County Hospital was integrated into the system in March and IU Health entered the Fort Wayne market with the opening of a Riley Children’s Health specialty clinic and a primary care office.
  • The pace of capital construction picked up, with seven major projects underway to position IU Health to deliver the most up-to-date and innovative care. Projects include a consolidation of maternity services within the academic medical center at Riley Hospital for Children; replacement of Bloomington Hospital with a wholly new regional medical center campus; creation of a cancer center at North Hospital and major expansions and renovations at West and Ball Memorial hospitals. Design and preparatory work continued for a consolidated adult academic health center in downtown Indianapolis with the first patient care starting in 2026.
  • IU Health continued investing in leading-edge or first-in-Indiana technologies to enhance patient care, including the launch of a mobile stroke ambulance in Indianapolis to provide faster treatment of stroke victims; pioneering use of stem cell transplant and cellular therapy for pediatric leukemia and adult lymphoma patients; and deployment of innovative ultraviolet light emitters to kill microscopic pathogens in hospitals, contributing to safer environments for patients, visitors and staff.
  • Approximately $561 million in community benefit – the highest among healthcare providers in the state – was reported for 2017, featuring financial assistance to patients, education for health professionals, clinical research, and outreach initiatives that improve community health.

Financial outcomes: Revenues increase, operating expenses flat

Financial highlights for IU Health’s 16-hospital system, which also includes surgery and urgent care centers, four physician networks and a health insurance company

  • Operating revenue grew to $6.43 billion from $6.34 billion in 2017, with patient volumes increasing in most categories, including surgeries and inpatient admissions.
  • Operating expenses of $5.82 billion rose just 1.1 percent compared to 2017.
  • Operating income rose 4 percent to $612 million. Total earnings, however, declined to $296 million from $989 million in 2017 due to investment losses in a year of turbulent financial markets. IU Health maintained an AA bond rating that reflects its strong financial position.

IU Health Medical Center was named the top hospital in Indiana and included among the nation’s top hospitals for the 21st consecutive year in the 2018-2019 ‘Best Hospitals’ rankings by U.S. News & World Report. IU Health is among an elite group of hospitals with Magnet designation for excellence in nursing services and clinical outcomes.

A not-for-profit hospital system created in 1997 with hospital roots reaching to the early 1900s, IU Health has a unique role in Indiana supporting a wide range of programs beyond clinical care. They include support for IU School of Medicine, chaplaincy programs that aid patients’ spiritual and other needs, neighborhood revitalization, school-based health education programs, and education for independent health providers. Learn more at

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Indiana University Health is Indiana’s most comprehensive healthcare system. An academic health center, IU Health provides leading-edge medicine and treatments.

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