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Healthcare Informatics/AMDIS IT Innovation Advocate Award Winners Announced, Plus an Interview with the First-Place Team’s Lead

May 3, 2012
by Mark Hagland
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An Interview with Team Lead and HealthEast CMIO Brian Patty, M.D.

For the second year in a row, Healthcare Informatics and AMDIS (the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems) are proud to sponsor the Healthcare Informatics/AMDIS IT Innovation Advocate Award program, which recognizes teams of clinical informaticists, clinicians, and other healthcare leaders in hospitals, medical groups, and health systems whose innovative initiatives are moving healthcare forward.

This year, our organizations are delighted to announce the first-, second-, and third-place winning teams here. The three teams are:

> First Place: The health informatics team at the St. Paul, Minn.-based HealthEast Care System, led by HealthEast CMIO Brian Patty, M.D., for that team’s broad leveraging of clinical IT in the pursuit of the organization’s quality improvement goals

> Second Place: The short-cycle measure dashboard team at Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, Oh.), led by Andrew W. Proctor, Senior Director, Business Intelligence, for that team’s work on a real-time quality dashboard mechanism and process

> Third Place: Edward Rippel, M.D., of Quinnipiac Internal Medicine, a solo internal medicine practice in Hamden, Conn., which was the first solo medical practice in the state of Connecticut to receive formal patient-centered medical home recognition by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA)

We at Healthcare Informatics look forward to recognizing representatives of all three top teams with awards at the Healthcare Informatics Executive Summit in Orlando next week, and to sharing interviews with the team leads from each of those teams on this website in the coming months.

In that regard, the first interview to be presented is with Brian Patty, M.D., who leads the health informatics team at HealthEast, a 684-bed, four-hospital integrated health system based in St. Paul, Minn.  At HealthEast, Brian Patty leads a team of about 45 informaticists, 90 percent of them clinician informaticists, who have been involved in an impressive array of initiatives across the organization.

Among the team’s accomplishments have been:

> Facilitation of several comprehensive implementations, including a full-replacement CPOE (Icomputerized physician order entry) system, broadly interoperable clinical documentation system, bedside barcoded medication administration system (eMAR), pharmacy management system, and comprehensive physician portal

> Development of an advanced clinical decision support (CDS) system that incorporates innovative web-based physician order sets called iForms

> Advanced applications, including an enterprise-wide longitudinal health summary and an advanced provider notes application with capabilities expanded beyond the usual physical and discharge summary documentation capabilities

> Implementation of a data warehouse in an online analytical processing (OLAP) environment, to facilitate financial, operational, and quality retrospective analytics

Patty, who reports to HealthEast’s CEO and is a peer of the organization’s CIO, works collaboratively with HealthEast’s CIO, and credits the organization’s culture of cooperation and innovation with the success of his health informatics team in making inroads in all these important areas. He spoke recently with HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland about all this; below are excerpts from that interview.

What are the top-line things you’re accomplishing?

Our primary focus is to work closely with our quality department, and really find out what their priorities are. And we focus the decision support tools that we deploy based on what we feel will best help us focus our quality work. So where are the pain points in some of our quality initiatives, and what can we do with our EHR and with some of our CDS tools, to help out? Some areas that are naturally included are the management of falls and pressure ulcers, and so on; but we’re really focusing on how we can help the organization.

Brian Patty, M.D.

What have you found to be the biggest process-oriented challenges in what you do to support care improvement?

I think it’s in designing solutions that allow more efficient workflow for end-users, yet also let us meet our quality goals. For example, take our VTE [venous thromboembolism] prophylaxis order set: we had a lot of challenges in designing that set so that it would feed clinicians with some risk-based scenarios to help them select the right treatment, but also to allow them, if they chose not to use the recommended treatment, to use a reason that would be acceptable to CMS [the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services], and not to slow them down too much. In other words, our biggest process-oriented challenges have been balancing the need to meet quality and regulatory requirements through embedding specific tasks into clinicians’ workflows while not slowing them down so that they feel as though that’s all they’re doing.

In what areas do you think your team’s work has stood out the most?