Recognizing that healthcare providers need to transition from sick care to well care, Carolinas HealthCare System has been aggressively pursuing a technology strategy that powers more effective patient engagement, virtual care delivery and interoperability amongst providers in the Carolinas. At the Charlotte, NC-based healthcare system, information technology professionals, clinicians, analysts and operational leaders collaborate on executing a strategy that delivers tools and technology to improve patient care, easily.
Spearheading these initiatives has been Craig D. Richardville, MBA, FACHE, FHIMSS, senior vice president and chief information officer. In recognition of his efforts to bring better care to patients in North and South Carolina, Richardville has been named the 2015 John E. Gall, Jr. CIO of the Year.
The award, sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and HIMSS, recognizes healthcare IT executives who have made significant contributions to their organization and demonstrated innovative leadership through effective use of technology. The boards of directors for both organizations annually select the recipient of the award, which is named in honor of the late John E. Gall Jr., who pioneered implementation of the first fully integrated medical information system in the world at California’s El Camino Hospital in the 1960s. Richardville will receive the award on March 3, 2016, at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in Las Vegas.
“I’m honored and humbled to be recognized for this award,” Richardville said. “I credit the team at Carolinas HealthCare System who has the commitment and talent to serve our patients. With this team, we’ve been able to leverage technology to improve and support the care delivered.”
Richardville has been instrumental in advancing innovative technologies for patient care. In 2013, the health system deployed one the nation’s largest virtual ICU practices. Currently, nearly 300 ICU beds in North and South Carolina were being monitored virtually. Clinicians cans also conduct virtual psychiatric visits, as well as provide care for stroke and other complicated conditions to rural communities.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and 47 other of the nation’s largest healthcare provider organizations issued a joint call for additional time and flexibility in the meaningful use program to ensure its continued success.
While underscoring the meaningful use program’s invaluable role in advancing technology adoption among hospitals and physicians, the letter states that strict adherence to current program requirements endangers overall success of the EHR program, disrupts providers’ healthcare operations and potentially jeopardizes patient safety.
“Given that we have just celebrated the anniversary of HITECH, we can look back at the last five years with great pride and take stock of how far we’ve come – as an industry and as a nation,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell FCHIME, CHCIO. “But we must look ahead and recognize the immense work in front of us. Now is the time to make much-needed course corrections to ensure that we continue this success well past HITECH’s 10th anniversary.”
The letter reiterates many points made by several organizations dating back to May 2013, including letters from CHIME; the American Hospital Association (AHA); the American Medical Association (AMA); the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA); the American College of Physicians (ACP); the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP); and the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).
The latest letter, the first to be issued jointly by more than 40 organizations, comes in response to concerns that the nation’s 5,000 hospitals and 550,000 eligible professionals must adopt the latest certified versions of EHR technology and meet more difficult program requirements to remain in compliance with the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Program. Hospitals only have until July to adopt, implement, test and train staff to meet either Stage 1 or Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements in 2014. Eligible professionals have until October to begin collecting data to attest to meeting program requirements.
An enterprise-wide data warehouse and a cross-functional team approach to analyze care delivery and protocols has enabled Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston to improve care and achieve millions of dollars in savings at the same time.
Implementing electronic health records was only a starting point for the process, says Myra Davis, senior vice president and CIO for the Houston-based facility. Analyzing the data from the EHR system and other information systems in the hospital with diverse team members using visualization applications has enabled significant improvements in clinical processes, she said.
The use of the data warehouse and improved analytical processes has strong support from clinicians and research specialists, who lauded the approach’s ability to conduct research.
“It’s great to be in a meeting to slice and dice the data,” said Terri Brown, research specialist and assistant director of data support at Texas Children’s Hospital. “When it used to take three months to get a report, now within 30 minutes you have such a great understanding of the data. It takes away the false leads. It tells you what the source of truth is for how we have changed care delivery. It has been revolutionary.”