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Alumnus Nick Mahurin Recognized for Bringing Innovations to Health IT Field

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Alumnus Nick Mahurin speaks to ESCALATE students.

Passing Along Advice: Nick Mahurin, a 1989 mechanical engineering alumnus, spoke last fall to students in Rose-Hulman's inaugural ESCALATE entrepreneurial development program. (Photo by Dale Long)

When Nick Mahurin stands in front of a room to speak, the air is always mixed with excitement, intrigue and a bit of tension. The excitement comes from the Rose-Hulman graduate's reputation in the health care industry, where he has earned a reputation as an innovator in health information technology (health IT).

Since Mahurin's experience is in an area filled with uncertainty, audiences are always intrigued by his confidence. And, the tension is a constant presence in the health care field. That's why numerous national and international organizations call on Mahurin's expertise.

"You don't have to be a health care professional to know that the entire industry is in major transition," says the 1989 mechanical engineering alumnus. "All you have to do is visit your own physician to observe the changes first hand."

In 2003 Mahurin founded InfraWare (InfraWare.com), a Terre Haute-based health IT firm that leverages the power of mobile dictation, automatic speech recognition, and electronic medical record (EMR) integration to reduce the cost of producing accurate medical reports. InfraWare's solution also helps keep patient charts up to date by supporting fast turn-around times.

Since health care organizations are working toward Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2), many are very intrigued by InfraWare's platform. The InfraWare solution allows doctors to meet MU2 regulations by using dictation to document their patient encounters.

"Doctors want to get back to focusing on patient care," Mahurin adds. "They're frustrated and tired from documentation overload."

That's why the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI), and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) have sought Mahurin to speak with health care professionals looking for solutions to industry problems.

Mahurin was featured at the MGMA 2014 Conference in Las Vegas, presenting hot button issues that gave participants "information and resources to address the changing health care landscape and help medical practices position themselves for success and long-term sustainability," states Chuck McCaffrey, MGMA's vice president of professional development.

Another major development in the health IT documentation, led by Mahurin and colleagues, has been Consolidated CDA, a remarkable documentation savior, according to industry analysts.

Nick Mahurin

Successful Entrepreneur: Nick Mahurin started his first IT business after graduating from Rose-Hulman. His latest venture, InfraWare, is striving to revolutionize the health IT industry.

"The new regulations require health care workers to document each encounter through an EMR system. When a doctor or a nurse documents an appointment in the EMR, the information is entered in structured formats, such as dropdown boxes," Mahurin explains. "But not all important information, like a patient's preferences, can be documented this way. That's why narrative information is so valuable and why Consolidated CDA was developed as a document format to support both narrative and structure data."

This common format allows what health care professionals call the "patient narrative" to be structured so that the information can be properly included in the EMR. The whole goal of these new documentation regulations is to improve interoperability-yet another complicated health care industry specialty.

"Interoperability is the ability for different health care systems to be able to share patient records with authorized providers," says Mahurin. "This means that a patient's primary care physician can easily, and securely, share records with the physical therapist."

Mahurin was recently named chairman of the HIMSS Health Story Project, which has made monumental gains in the health IT field.

"Nick is a true HIT (Health Information Technology) leader and a frequent speaker, who brings a refreshing, pragmatic approach to HIT," says Alex Lippitt Jr., senior director of interoperability and standards at HIMSS. "He stresses the value of narrative and what can be obtained from all of the patient's record, not just the checkboxes and measurements. He helps HIT find an often missing balance, including what is truly useful to the patient and caregiver but is often left out."

Mahurin's entrepreneurship in business and leadership in health IT has been recognized across the country. He presented at five major conferences in 2014, spanning from Las Vegas to Washington, D.C.

"His approach of stressing the importance of telling the patient's health story in electronic health records stands out," states Lippitt.

Mahurin started his first IT business after graduating from Rose-Hulman, and he hasn't looked back since. "Nick is a true innovative and entrepreneurial leader," says William Kline, PhD, Rose-Hulman's dean of innovation and engagement. "He has been engaged in entrepreneurial endeavors since his college days, and has always had an eye on the horizon for the next market or technology opportunity."

Mahurin has spoken to aspiring engineers and entrepreneurs as part of Rose-Hulman Ventures' James R. Baumgardt Distinguished Speakers Series, the Rose Innovative Student Entrepreneurs (RISE) organization's annual Rose Startup! Conference and last fall met with members of Rose-Hulman's inaugural group of students in ESCALATE, a new campus living and learning community program that prepares students with a business awareness to become innovative, technical leaders in today's competitive global economy.

The need for innovative solutions in the health information industry is what led Mahurin to found InfraWare in 2003.

"When we first started InfraWare we were looking to improve an already mature industry-medical transcription," says Mahurin. "Over the past few years, the EMR adoption frenzy not only undermined the need for the patient narrative, but it also stripped providers of the simplest and most efficient way of documenting-through dictation."

However, Mahurin's leadership and InfraWare's innovation shows that dictation was never obsolete. Providers can actually use this familiar tool on their computers, tablets, and smartphones to collect patient information and, with InfraWare's software, automatically populate those repetitive EMR drop boxes.

"In many cases, leadership is just 'showing up and speaking up,' but Nick puts in the time to study the markets in which his business operates," says Kline. "He can speak thoughtfully on any related topic of technology, customer needs or challenges in the marketplace."