Electronic Health Records

Integration & Interoperability News

Health IT Interoperability Shines in CHIME Innovation Award

By Frank Irving

- Health IT interoperability is front-and-center for Hackensack University Medical Center, whose CIO, Shafiq Rab, MD, was named Innovator of the Year by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) on Oct. 15. Rab accepted the award at the CHIME15 Fall CIO Forum in Orlando.

HackensackUMC’s technology initiatives strive to give clinicians and patients information that can help them make better decisions while reducing healthcare costs, according to a CHIME statement. Rab said the honor recognizes the accomplishments of his team at the teaching and research hospital located in Bergen County, N.J.— as well as partnering vendors.

One such effort enables HackensackUMC (pictured) to link patient-generated data from personal fitness devices and mobile apps to its EHR, giving clinicians a more complete view of a patient’s history.

“Achieving interoperability is one of the industry’s biggest challenges and priorities,” said CHIME CEO Russell Branzell in a statement announcing the award. “Through Shafiq’s efforts, we are seeing how greater connectivity between providers and patients can create more efficient and effective care delivery.”

The medical center has also been involved in efforts to make use of HL7’s Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standards framework to promote improved data exchange. In July 2015, HackensackUMC agreed to be a lead adopter of FHIR’s Draft Standard for Trial Use Version 2 Patient Resources component to communicate with mobile devices using technology from cloud company Infor.

“The era and the time of the patient is now. Patient engagement and patient participation is only possible if flow and exchange of information is open and easy; FHIR allows that to happen. It is our moral and ethical duty to allow the patient to be in control of their electronic health record and information,” said Rab at the time of the Infor announcement. “Partnering with Infor, we’re able to change the way our data is structured and standardized, and pave the way for FHIR standards of exchanging healthcare information electronically at our organization.”

Other work at HackensackUMC has focused on creating a more efficient care delivery system. For example, the medical center teamed with Vital Images to improve access to digital images. The thrust of the project, according to Rab, is “to make images available to both patients and clinicians at relevant and meaningful moments in context of the problem, disease or encounter during the entire life of that patient.”

HackensackUMC implemented Vital’s universal viewer, VitreaView, to provide fast access to DICOM and non-DICOM images from any archive on browsers and mobile devices. Rab commented:

“We realized that valuable radiologic images were not being fully utilized in patient care and that one of the main barriers to integrating those images into the workflow of reading radiologic reports was physician access. The complex and time-consuming effort needed to pull images from disparate repositories made it very difficult to bring many of the images to the care team in time to influence decisions. VitreView integrates with our EMR and provides fast and convenient access to current images.”

CHIME’s Innovator Award also includes a $5,000 scholarship for continuing health IT education to be used by the recipient or a staff member.

 

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