What makes a health IT executive stand out from the crowd? A quick scan of the CIOs and CMIOs profiled in our second annual CIO 25 honor roll will make the distinctions clear. Common threads: passion, and dedication to improving patient care.
Take Drexel DeFord, senior VP and CIO of Seattle Children's Hospital and chair of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. One of the driving forces behind his work was the death of a patient as a result of medical errors. The investigation after that tragedy revealed clinicians' pervasive frustration with slow computer login times and eventually led to major changes in Seattle Children's IT infrastructure.
Likewise, there's no doubt that Dr. Peter Greene's work in creating smarter computerized physician order entry order sets and clinical alerts as Johns Hopkins' CMIO was driven by his experiences working with patients as a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Similarly, CIO Mike Restuccia and his team at Penn Medicine are inspired by genuine concern for patients' welfare. Under his stewardship, the healthcare system has made innovative use of its electronic health records to recruit patients for clinical research trials. Penn's program gives patients access to potentially lifesaving treatments they would likely never know about otherwise.
In a similar vein, Mark Hulse, CIO at Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, recently launched the organization's Health and Research Informatics platform, based on Oracle data warehouse and analytics software. Part of Moffitt's Total Cancer Care program--a longitudinal study that involves 17 community hospitals in 10 states--the platform helps doctors collect and analyze patient clinical, genomic, and molecular tumor data to determine therapies based on cancer types and stages, previous treatments, age, medical history, genetic markers, and other characteristics. As a result, clinicians can quickly identify patients suitable for clinical trials and research projects. In the past, finding patients who fit the criteria "could take weeks or months," said Hulse.
Mike LeRoy, CIO at Detroit Medical Center, also has his sights set on saving lives. Last year, the medical center opened a "smart unit," a 30-bed acute care telemetry unit that links medical devices with clinical and workflow software to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of patient care. Clinicians get vital signs and other patient data from bedside devices in real time, and information flows right to the patient's EHR.
George Brenckle, senior VP and CIO at UMass Memorial Health Care, is making his contribution to better patient care by harnessing the power of big data. With the help of Informatica, a data integration vendor, UMass has aggregated and cleaned up the healthcare system's enterprise master patient index, giving users easy access to the data contained in more than 5 million patient records. That sets the stage for the kind of data analytics that can improve clinical outcomes and lower costs.
UMass also has built an ICU "bunker," a central command center that's patched into the 10 intensive care units in the hospital system. Specialists in the bunker have video and audio access to the ICUs and receive real-time data on patients. The command center has been responsible for a 20% drop in mortality at UMass's ICUs since it was put in place, said Brenckle.
The list of life-saving changes that passionate health IT leaders are making goes on and on, which is why we hope you'll take a closer look at the exceptional doers and thinkers profiled here. (Wondering who made our first list? Read The InformationWeek Healthcare CIO 25.)