Inside CHIME: Gary Barnes, Fernando Martinez and Chuck Christian Earn 2017 Awards

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By Candace Stuart, Director of Communications & Public Relations, CHIME

On Nov. 1, three members of CHIME walked across the stage at the CHIME17 Fall CIO Forum in San Antonio to accept the highest praise from their peers: awards that acknowledged their contributions as healthcare IT leaders. Here is a look at how they earned these honors.

The 2017 CHIME-AHA Transformational Leadership Award, given to Gary Barnes

Gary Barnes, CHCIO, Chief Information Officer, Medical Center Health System

Gary Barnes, CHCIO, Chief Information Officer, Medical Center Health System

When the Medical Center Health System (MCHS) in Odessa, Texas, learned five years ago that the EHR 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 CIO Gary Barnes 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 CMIO positions, with one for inpatient settings and one for outpatient care, to optimize transitions in care. The EHR plan also included regional partners and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Medical Center in Odessa.

They not only met their go-live date but they also remained under budget. Clinician adoption and usage has been strong, and thanks to a voice recognition mobile device application, they have experienced improvements in turnaround time for reports at reduced costs.

The 2017 CHIME Innovator of the Year Award, given to Fernando Martinez

Fernando Martinez, CHCIO, Chief Digital Officer, Texas Hospital Association

Fernando Martinez, CHCIO, Chief Digital Officer, Texas Hospital Association

Imagine a setting where physicians have at their fingertips not only the cost of a medication, a lab test or of a scan but also the adverse drug reactions, the estimated blood loss and consequent risk of anemia or the patient’s cumulative exposure to radiation from imaging tests. Add to this scenario that the information appears unobtrusively with no clicking and on any EMR at any point of care.

Fernando Martinez, the chief digital officer at Austin-based Texas Hospital Association (THA) and president and CEO of the THA Foundation, not only imagined it, he helped make it a reality through the THA Foundation Center for Technology Innovation. With Martinez at the helm, the center 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.

Parkland has expanded the use of the THA Smart Ribbon to all providers at Parkland Hospital and three more hospital systems have the tool in production or are implementing it. Several other hospital systems are in the final stages of joining the program and THA expects increased adoption will continue over the next few years.

The 2017 CHIME Outstanding Service Award, given to Chuck Christian

Charles Christian, CHCIO, VP of Technology & Engagement, Indiana Health Information Exchange

Charles Christian, CHCIO, VP of Technology & Engagement, Indiana Health Information Exchange

Charles (Chuck) Christian’s commitment to CHIME predates his present position as a vice president at the Indiana Health Information Exchange in Indianapolis, his two-year stint as a vice president and CIO at St. Francis Hospital in Columbus, Ga., and goes well into his 23-year tenure at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind.

He has served as chair of the CHIME Foundation Board (2016); chair of the CHIME Board (2015); CHIME board chair-elect (2014); chair of the CHIME Policy Steering Committee (2011, 2013 and 2016); a member of the CHIME Policy Steering Committee (2010 to present), and a member of the CHIME Board (2002-2004). He is a charter member of CHIME, a CHIME Fellow and a CHIME Lifetime Member. Besides his extensive service on boards and committees, he also has been a member of the CHIME Boot Camp faculty and a popular forum speaker.

He’s won numerous awards from CHIME, including the John E. Gall HIMSS/CHIME CIO of the Year (2010) and the CHIME Collaboration Award (2010). On Nov. 3, he also received CHIME’s 2017 Federal Public Policy Award for CIO Leadership, which was formally announced on Oct. 6 to coincide with the National Health IT Week.

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