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Innovators: It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

October 24, 2011
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Why your organization’s work may merit national recognition

WhenHealthcare Informatics announces the winners of its Innovator Awards program in February, it will mark the fourth time in which the awards program has been organized around teams of informaticists, clinicians, and other patient care leaders and professionals. Beginning in 2009, HCI shifted the focus of an existing awards program from recognizing laudable individuals to honoring teams of healthcare and healthcare IT leaders. Why? Because, fundamentally these days in healthcare, no individual creates profound health system change on her or his own; instead, at the most pioneering patient care organizations nationwide, teams of IT executives and professionals, clinicians and clinician leaders, clinical informaticists, and others, are working together in multidisciplinary ways to improve patient care, operational efficiency, and every other aspect of medical group and hospital operations.

It’s been a wonderful experience for us at HCI to read the submissions from teams of all types, working forward in every area of activity in patient care organizations nationwide. If there’s a single thing that has impressed me personally, it’s that there is no single solution, answer, or secret formula for success. Instead, those healthcare and healthcare IT leaders who have helped lead their colleagues forward to improve patient care quality and safety, to enhance clinician workflow, to improve financial performance, to make the patient experience better—every one of the leaders and every one of the teams has come up with a different approach to whatever challenge they’ve been facing.

Why is this important? Given the immense complexity of the healthcare system in the U.S., it’s no surprise that every department in every hospital and medical group tends to operate differently; and what’s more, the cultures of patient care organizations are often dramatically different. So it should come as no surprise that different situations call for different approaches. It’s not only the reality of healthcare organizations in the current operating environment; it also makes things endlessly interesting.

Do you think there are some important things going on in your organization? If so, you’re probably right. So why not let us know what you’re up to? We’re very, very interested! Indeed, we’re looking forward to what we hope will end up being a bumper crop of submissions to the 2012 Innovator Awards program. We were very pleased and deeply gratified by the abundant response to our invitation to submit for the 2011 program. The high quality of responses confirmed what we already knew to be true—that there are many, many wonderful initiatives taking place in patient care organizations nationwide. And those initiatives are improving patient care, patient and family satisfaction, financial performance, and operational excellence in communities all across the U.S.

Do you think what you and your colleagues are working on deserves recognition? You could very well be right. Please let us know about what you’re up to, by submitting to our program. Not only might you and your colleagues be recognized in the pages of Healthcare Informatics (and at our Innovators reception during the HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas in February 2012); you’ll be helping us to spread the word about innovative approaches to process change, something we’re deeply committed to as a publication. We look forward to your submission! Best of luck, and long may innovation thrive!