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Striving Forward

June 14, 2011
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What our 3 IT Innovation Advocate Award winners have in common


It was deeply gratifying to be able to recognize the three winners of the first-ever Healthcare Informatics/AMDIS IT Innovation Advocate Awards program, both in a presentation at the Healthcare Informatics Executive Summit last month in San Francisco, and here online, through our publication’s website. On the one hand, there is a fascinating diversity in what Cecilee Ruesch, R.N. and her colleagues at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage have achieved in their eICU management; what Vinay Vaidya, M.D., and his colleagues at Phoenix Children’s Hospital have done to build a robust pediatric dosing solution within their electronic health record (EHR); and what Carol Scholle, R.N., and her colleagues at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh have succeeded at doing with their groundbreaking SmartRoom program.


Yet the fundamentals of what those three teams—and the teams of all the entrants in the awards program this year—have, actually dwarf their differences That is to say, the leadership expressed individually and collectively by IT professionals, clinical informaticists, and clinician leaders in their organizations; the organizational striving for continuous improvement and for clinical transformation; the vision and persistence of their efforts; and cultures that reward innovation and risk-taking for performance improvement, unite all of these organizations, and more, around the country.

It has been a great privilege and pleasure to establish this awards program with our partners at AMDIS, the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems, and to organize the judging of the submissions to the program with six incredible physician informaticists who are either CMIOs or CIOs (Bobbie Byrne, M.D., Christopher Longhurst, M.D., Justin Graham, M.D., Howard Landa, M.D., Jim Levin, M.D., Ph.D., and AMDIS president Bill Bria, M.D.), all of whom were incredibly thoughtful and insightful in their deliberations; and to be able to recognize the three most outstanding submissions from among a universally impressive array of entrants.

What all this says to me is that there is a very broad cadre of patient care organizations nationwide whose leaders are doing all the right things, and whose teams are striving forward to create the healthcare of the future, one with demonstrably improved patient safety, care quality, cost-effectiveness, clinician effectiveness, patient and family satisfaction, and a host of other crucial qualities. And it is one of the supreme delights of my job to be able to use the platform of our magazine to work collaboratively with industry leaders to recognize outstanding work in innovation and clinical transformation.

We all know that the work ahead required to fundamentally transform the healthcare system into a more effective version of itself will be arduous and will take many years of effort and trial and error. But it’s in moments like these that I feel most hopeful for the future of healthcare in this country. There are innovative organizations all around us; we just have to share our stories with each other, and recognize one another’s work, in order to create mutual support for the journey ahead.

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