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Various Health IT Leaders Honored for Leadership, Innovation

November 1, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has recognized several industry leaders with awards at their Fall CIO Forum in San Antonio, Texas.

CHIME is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers (CIOs) and other senior healthcare IT leaders. CHIME has more than 2,400 CIO members and over 150 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms. The organization is holding its Fall CIO Forum this week in San Antonio.

Fernando Martinez, Ph.D., the chief digital officer at the Austin-based Texas Hospital Association (THA), and president and CEO of the THA Foundation Center for Technology Innovation, was honored with the CHIME Innovator of the Year award. The award is given annually to a CHIME member whose creative application of IT and innovative solutions brought value to his or her organization.

As explained by CHIME officials, with Martinez at the helm, the Center for Technology Innovation identified a unique, innovative nascent technology that had the potential to significantly address two major pain points commonly raised by Texas hospital CEOs: management of cost and variability of care. The result was the THA Smart Ribbon, a digital tool to help clinicians make informed decisions based on cost and clinical data. Implementation of the THA Smart Ribbon using 55 providers at the Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas resulted in a cost savings of $430,444 over 71 days. The pre-post intervention study also demonstrated the predicted reduction in variation of care, they said.

“One key element to the success of the THA Smart Ribbon is the fact that it is EMR agnostic,” Martinez said in a statement. “It does not directly integrate or interact with the EMR [electronic medical record]. For instance, there is no need for additional testing or modification when EMR upgrades or modifications are made. This is a significant benefit for IT teams.”

Additionally, senior leaders at the Medical Center Health System (MCHS) in Odessa, Texas were recognized with the 2017 CHIME-AHA (American Hospital Association) Transformational Leadership Award. When the medical center realized five years ago that the EMR software it had been using for 25 years was being sunsetted, the leadership embraced it as an opportunity to bring about change. CEO William Webster and Gary Barnes, the system’s longstanding CIO, created a plan to implement a new EHR. What they and supportive staff throughout the system achieved was much more: a unified organization that puts the patient at the center.

Key to MCHS’ success was a decision to unify its analytics team and data governance structure, which allowed MCHS to consolidate and standardize multiple data sources. They also created two distinct but complementary chief medical information officer (CMIO) positions, with one for inpatient settings and one for outpatient care, according to CHIME officials, who recognize a healthcare organization CEO and CIO annually with this award.

What’s more, Charles (Chuck) Christian, vice president at the Indiana Health Information Exchange in Indianapolis, was awarded the 2017 CHIME Outstanding Service award for his dedication to CHIME through participation in CHIME programs and volunteer service.

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