I remember driving into downtown Detroit on a chilly day in February 2009. I was there to find out for myself just what the folks at Detroit Medical Center had done to lay the foundation for an achievement that netted them the first-place 2009 Healthcare Informatics Innovator Award. I had already read the DMC folks’ awards submission, of course, and understood on an abstract level what had been achieved. Clinicians, clinical informaticists, and IT leaders, including their dynamic CIO, Michael LeRoy, at two of DMC’s hospitals, had worked together to solve a problem around the barcoding of patient and medication information for the tiniest babies in their nenonatal intensive care units.
But what was eye-opening for me was to learn the story behind the story, meeting the DMC leaders in person, and most of all, finding out what kind of culture produced the achievement that I was to write about in the April 2009 cover story package in the magazine. In a phrase, it was a culture of intensive, committed collaboration that created and sustained that achievement.
The same culture was evident to me when I met the leaders at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, during a general introductory visit, months before our readers were to name that organization the first-place winner in this year’s (2010) Innovator Award program. CIO Jacque Dailey and CMIO Dr. Jim Levin are remarkable people helping to lead a remarkable team of clinicians, clinical informaticists, and IT professionals, and their first-place win for their always-available ICU dashboard for clinicians was just the (very worthy) tip of the iceberg of their story. As at DMC, the organizational culture at CHP is one of constant striving on behalf of their patients, with all the stakeholder groups working forward through all the challenges and complications, towards an envisioned world of improved patient safety, care quality, efficiency, and effectiveness.
In other words, it’s not surprising that the first-place (as well as second- and third-place) winners in the past two years’ Innovator Awards program have been organizations with innovative cultures, as the very presence of a culture of innovation, in my humble opinion, is obviously the strongest foundation possible for specific achievements.
We’re excited to be able to open up the submissions process again for the 2011 program. To find out all the details, simply click on the link on our homepage, and view the submissions form and all the details around process and deadlines. The underlying question is: does your organization have a culture of innovation? Read the April 2009 and March 2010 issues of HCI to find out what the six organizations described in the cover packages for those issues have done; and you can start to think through what kinds of specific achievements your organization has created, and how your underlying culture stacks up against others’ from around the country. And remember, this program is open not only to hospital organizations of all sizes, but also to medical groups.
The Innovator Awards Program at Healthcare Informatics speaks to the core of what we’re about at the magazine: identifying, learning about, investigating, reporting on, and presenting for our readers the best our dynamic industry has to offer in the way of innovation of all sorts. I encourage you to consider submitting an entry for the 2011 program. And I look forward to our readers deciding who the industry’s top Innovators will be for 2011!