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Health IT achievements honoured at gala

TORONTO – COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association  and ITAC Health recognized achievements in Canadian healthcare IT at the fifth annual Canadian Health Informatics Awards. The event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Nov. 19. “The gala is a valuable reminder of the very real and significant advances HI is making in Canadian healthcare,” said Linda Miller (pictured), COACH President.

“The award winners, through their dedication, commitment and innovation, have played vitally important roles in taking HI mainstream and ultimately improving the system for all Canadians,” said Miller. “I am immensely proud of all the award recipients and nominees, as well as all the people who took the time to prepare nominations.”

The recipients of the awards were:

Leadership in the Field of Health Informatics Award
Awarded to: Dennis Rankin, Independent Health Industry Informatics Consultant
Awarded for: Outstanding, ongoing contributions by an individual, with leadership recognized within his/her jurisdiction or more broadly. See complete criteria.

A true health informatics (HI) pioneer, Dennis’ leadership has strongly influenced health outcomes and improvements across Canada for 35 years. With a resume that reads like the history of Canadian HI, Dennis is renowned for his negotiating, influencing and directing skills and ability to bring together hesitant partners with disparate views. Many business leaders from across Canada reach for Dennis’ phone number when a large and seemingly unmanageable project looms.

In his early career in the private sector, Dennis was involved in the very first HIS implementations in Canada - in a few cases these products remain in use today. He also led key private sector initiatives that remain influential and foundational in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. Today, Dennis continues to lead some of the largest and most complex strategic HI projects in this country.

While his accomplishments are too numerous to list here, his recent contributions include:

• Diagnostic Imaging Repositories in Ontario, providing leadership in leveraging solutions for several local health authorities and more;
• being instrumental in the creation of Hospital Diagnostic Imaging Repository Services;
• playing a pivotal role in the DI PACS national procurement process involving Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
The award nominators emphasized Dennis’ exceptional dedication, commitment and resolve: “Dennis is not about self-promotion or marketing, but about real and tangible accomplishments over his entire career. He is a consummate and exceptional leader who prefers to let his actions speak instead of words.”

Innovation in the Adoption of Health Informatics Award
Awarded to: Ontario Telemedicine Network’s Telehomecare Phase One Program
Awarded for: An information technology project that has, through innovation and commitment, been successfully integrated into the health system

The Telehomecare Phase One Program, the largest of its kind in Canada, was designed to improve self-management and health status in 813 patients with congestive heart failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in Ontario.

A time-limited intervention, the initial focus was on setting up technology in the patients’ homes to provide them with the confidence and support to learn how to better manage their chronic disease. The longer-term goal was incorporating self-management into the patients’ lifestyle, slowing the progression of disease and improving quality of life.

The Ontario Telemedicine Network worked with Family Health Teams, made up of primary care providers, which liaised with their health and community care partners, to roll out the program.

Meeting the requirements of both patients and providers contributed to the program’s success. Key results included:
• reduced hospitalizations and emergency department and walk-in clinic visits;
• enhanced primary care and patient self-management;
• high patient satisfaction and quality of life.

Community-Based Physician Leader/Innovator Award
Presented by the Canadian Medical Association & Practice Solutions Ltd. Awarded to: Dr. James Lane, Family Physician & IT Lead, Georgian Bay Family Health Team.
Awarded for: A practicing, community-based medical doctor who has shown outstanding leadership or innovation in the use of health IT in medical practice.

A champion of eHealth innovation in his community, James recently led two projects that improved patient outcomes and increased the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and medication management tools among his peers.

Georgian Bay Family Health Team clinicians now have a database that enables them to share, document and collaborate with each other through a single health record maintained for their patients in the Georgian Bay community. James spearheaded the development and implementation of the merged database for this multi-site practice of 38 physicians, three nurse practitioners and 12 allied health professionals serving 55,000 patients from Collingwood, Stayner, Wasaga Beach and Creemore.

In addition, he was the project lead and physician champion for the team’s ePrescribing Demonstration Project which moved the electronic prescribing process online. This means physicians can securely generate, authorize and transmit prescriptions electronically to local pharmacies. The ePrescribing functionality was integrated into the team’s EMR to improve prescriber workflow and patient outcomes through the elimination of illegible handwritten prescriptions.

James is a full-time Family Medicine and Obstetrics staff member at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at McMaster University.

Emerging Leader in Health Informatics Award
Presented by Courtyard Group
Awarded for: An individual in the first five years of his/her health informatics career who has clearly demonstrated leadership and early success in the field.
Awarded to: Ian Cummins, Senior Policy Analyst, eHealth Ontario

eHealth initiatives are all too often delayed because legislation and policies haven’t kept pace with advances in technology. Ian has played a leading role in closing this gap. He was instrumental in establishing the first Ontario Health eHealth Regulatory College Advisory Panel, a forum that brings professional regulators together to discuss emerging technologies, ranging from electronic prescribing to consumer solutions.

Ian has analyzed and recommended policy and legislative issues on numerous eHealth initiatives, including integrated policy solutions across key strategy areas like drugs, diabetes, identity access and privacy. His emphasis on partnership and open, honest communication has been most important in establishing Ontario’s eHealth relationship with its regulatory colleges.

In his current role, Ian continues to work proactively to identify policy issues facing a number of key provincial initiatives, including medication and diabetes management solutions. He also continues to contribute in the academic and volunteer communities.

Steven Huesing Scholarship
Awarded to: Mu-Hsing (Alex) Kuo, Master’s of Science student, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria
Awarded for: Any student currently enrolled in a health informatics or a related program at an accredited post-secondary institution. The scholarship recognizes the spirit, dedication and innovation that COACH Founding President Steven Huesing has brought to the field of health informatics.

Mu-Hsing (Alex) is hard working and well-equipped to efficiently addressing some of the most complex issues we face today in heath informatics.

His most promising work in the area of health informatics has been his Master’s thesis work on developing an XML based mediator for health data interoperability. This work has already generated considerable international interest and has been accepted for presentation and publication at a major international health informatics conference.

Additional award winners included:

• 2009 Company of the Year
McKesson Canada

• 2009 Project Implementation Team of the Year
ColonCancerCheck (CCC) Project Team
Clytan Inc./ Cancer Care Ontario

• 2009 Healthcare Transformation Award
TELUS Health Solutions
through their work with the Grand-Littoral Health and Services Centre

• 2009 Corporate Citizenship Awards
sponsored by Healthcare Information Management & Communications Canada

• MultiNational Corporation 2009 Citizenship Award
Agfa HealthCare

• Small to Medium Enterprise 2009 Citizenship Award
DeltaWare Systems

“Health informatics is making a very valuable contribution towards improving patient care for Canadians,” said Michael Green, Interim Chair, ITAC Health Board. “The fifth annual CHIA Gala recognized people and organizations that made outstanding contributions during 2009. Canada is a recognized global leader in the field of healthcare IT; continued investment will benefit the health of all Canadians.”

Recipients of other industry awards presented before the gala were also recognized at CHIA 2009. They were the Canada Health Infoway Standards Collaborative Peer Award, Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) Pinnacle Awards winners and the Canadian Society of Telehealth awards.

Posted Nov. 26, 2009