Senate Testimony: VCU CMIO Describes Innovations Possible Once Data is Flowing | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Senate Testimony: VCU CMIO Describes Innovations Possible Once Data is Flowing

July 24, 2013
by David Raths
| Reprints
Colin Banas, M.D.

In his July 24 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, Colin Banas, M.D., chief medical information officer of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, made a strong case for how data ubiquity lays the groundwork for subsequent clinical innovation and improved outcomes.

Banas, who helped create a dashboard embedded in the organization's commercial EHR system that monitors the status of vulnerable patients and gives clinicians an early warning of major problems, noted that all the gains that VCU has made in clinical decision support, transitions of care and innovations first relied on ubiquitous access to data. “Only after processes were refined did technology become the secret sauce to improving outcomes,” he said.  It is the triad of people, process and technology that leads to success, added Banas, who heads up the VCU Health System’s Office of Clinical Transformation, overseeing a group of physician informaticists, nursing informaticists and clinical trainers.

He credited the meaningful use program with pushing organizations like VCU on their portal initiatives. “A portal was always a vision on our roadmap, but it was the meaningful use program that gave it the much-needed activation energy directional framework for success,” he said.

VCU launched its patient portal in December 2012 and in just seven months it has already enrolled 11,000 patients who now have access to core elements of their medical records. “Inefficient phone tag has been replaced by an e-exchange between patients and providers,” Banas said, “and we have only started to scratch the surface of this technology.

VCU has created innovative and custom dashboards to augment its patient population management strategy by repainting large sums of data into easy to consume, graphical and interactive formats.  The health system seeks to help providers deal with the information overload that has become common as the data stored in the EMR grows. “One of the most exciting examples is our homegrown medical early warning system dashboard,” Banas said. “This gives our rapid response team a real-time monitoring system that continuously measures patient acuity and severity. The dashboard has been adopted by the team as their compass to guide them to the bedsides of our sickest patients.” The team no longer waits for a call from a nurse or doctor about a patient in distress, he explained. Instead they are accessing the dashboard on mobile devices and arriving at the bedside to assess and intervene, sometimes ahead of the primary team and nurse. “Since launching this dashboard, our analysis has shown a 5 percent reduction in in-house mortality and a significant reduction in cardio-pulmonary arrest outside of the intensive care unit,” he added.

But Banas also told the senators that like other institutions, VCU is grappling with the pace of change. “We are drowning in a sea of competing priorities and clinical needs to ensure that the EMR remains usable and meaningful,” he said. “The combined tsunami of the ICD-10 mandate collides precisely with the medical center’s need to attest for the first year of meaningful use, Stage 2.” He suggested that ONC and HHS might consider creative solutions to providing more flexibility on the timelines and potential penalties while preserving the momentum of the program.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

MGMA: Physician Compensation Data Illustrates Nationwide PCP Shortage

Primary care physicians’ compensation rose by more than 10 percent over the past five years, representing an increase which is nearly double that of specialty physicians’ compensation over the same period, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).

Circulation, Buoy Health Collaborate on Integrated Platform for Patient Transportation

Boston-based startup Circulation Health, a ride-ordering exchange that coordinates medical transportation logistics using Lyft and other transportation partners, is partnering with Buoy Health, also based in Boston, to integrate their platforms to provide patients with an end-to-end healthcare experience.

HITRUST Provides NIST Cybersecurity Framework Certification

The Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST), security and privacy standards development and accreditation organization, announced this week a certification program for the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Cybersecurity Framework (Framework).

Report: Interoperability in NHS England Faces Similar Barriers as U.S. Healthcare

Electronic patient record interoperability in NHS England is benefiting patient care, but interoperability efforts are facing barriers, including limited data sharing and cumbersome processes falling outside of the clinician workflow, according to a KLAS Research report.

Geisinger National Precision Health Hires Illumina Exec to Lead Business Development

Integrated health system Geisinger has hired a high-profile genetic counselor to head up business development for Geisinger National Precision Health, which was created to extend the Geisinger model on the national scene.

$30M VC Fund Launched to Spur Innovation in Cardiovascular Care

The American Heart Association, together with Philips and UPMC, has announced the launch of Cardeation Capital, a $30 million collaborative venture capital fund designed to spur healthcare innovation in heart disease and stroke care.