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COACH and ITAC Health announce CHIA winners

TORONTO – The 2010 COACH and ITAC Health award winners, and the Steven Huesing Scholarship recipients, were honoured at the sixth annual Canadian Health Informatics Awards (CHIA) Gala  in Toronto on Nov. 18. COACH and ITAC Health presented awards to an array of leading-edge projects and companies, as well as to talented individuals who are advancing Canadian healthcare through the use of information technologies.

The winners are:

• Community-Based Physician Leader/Innovator (Presented by the Canadian Medical Association & Practice Solutions Ltd.) – Dr. Jeremy Theal

Dr. Theal (in picture second from left) brings an “infectious” commitment and passion to leveraging health IT to improve patient care at North York General Hospital (NYGH), in Toronto. As the physician lead for the hospital’s eCare Computerized Provider Order Entry (CPOE) system over the last 3.5 years, he engaged 80+ front-line, hospital-based physicians to assist in the design of patient views and order sets and reached out to the other scopes of practice at NYGH to take a true inter-professional approach.

In the nominator’s words, “Quoting evidence from the literature, he has rallied NYGH clinicians to support CPOE by convincing them that such a system can truly improve efficiency of care, reduce inpatient complications and save patient lives.”

On top of this, he spearheaded a Canadian first – the creation of a library of more than 300 CPOE order sets that integrate regularly-updated, contextual evidence from medical literature into the physician’s ordering workflow and are customized to NYGH clinical practice. He again assembled a quality and patient-outcome driven inter-professional team to carry out this work.

(Pictured: Rohit Prakash of Practice Solutions, Dr. Jeremy Theal, William (Bill) Pascal of the CMA, Maureen Charlebois, COACH Board.)

• Best Innovation in Technology and Learning (Presented by Elluminate)  – University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine’s Distributed Medical Education Program

Launched in 2004 in response to a shortage of doctors in British Columbia, particularly in rural areas, the Distributed Medical Education Program (DMEP) doubled undergraduate class sizes three years ahead of schedule and extended UBC’s medical program to medical learners and faculty in all regions of the province.

DMEP is now recognized as a reference model for simultaneous distributed medical education, enabling emerging physicians to train and remain in historically underserviced communities. UBC is the first medical school in North America to leverage highly integrated and scalable audio visual and collaboration technologies as part of the core strategy for DMEP. These technologies, including videoconferencing, picture archiving and simulation, enable simultaneous and asynchronous distributed study in all courses. Clerks, residents and post-graduate medical students can train under direct supervision of clinical faculty in patient care settings and participate in half-day seminars at clinical sites across the province.

By 2015, DMEP will have graduated 1,750 medical doctors and employed more than 1,500 clinical faculty. DMEP was developed in collaboration with the Government of British Columbia, University of Northern BC, University of Victoria and provincial regional health authorities. Today, it encompasses a fourth campus at UBC Okanagan, scheduled to go live in the spring of 2011.

• Emerging Leader in Health Informatics (Presented by Courtyard Group) – Dr. Jane Nassif

Dr. Nassif is a visionary, dedicated to showcasing the capacity of health informatics (HI) on a local, provincial and national scale. Her efforts, along with a supportive team at Niagara Region, have contributed to significant efficiencies, cost savings, and innovation through the development of the Protocol for Electronic Clinic Systems (PECS) used to support pandemic H1N1 vaccine delivery.

The introduction and availability of this clinic management program changed the delivery of vaccine to the general public for the first time in decades. Many Ontario health units gained the ability to track clients, inventory and clinic statistics electronically with PECS. In 2009, with the emergence of the pandemic H1N1 influenza, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care endorsed PECS for use in Ontario health units for the 2009 H1N1 immunization season in which Dr. Nassif was an instrumental partner.

PECS was vital to promoting and developing the field of HI within public health. PECS introduced a system that could be implemented simultaneously across normal jurisdictional boundaries and allowed for standardized data collection across health units. Beyond the utility during H1N1, the introduction of PECS proved, to many health units, that these systems can be functional in their environment and bring the delivery of public health services to entirely new levels. As a result of the PECS introduction, and Dr. Nassif’s ability to build relationships across health units, the delivery of mass immunizations in Ontario has finally reached the 21st century.

Dr. Nassif continues to receive requests to present this work at provincial and federal agencies and national conferences.

• Excellence in Canadian Telehealth – University Health Network Telehealth Program

The UHN Telehealth Program, launched in 2002, has pioneered telehealth integration into complex clinical care environments including organ transplantation and home telemonitoring for diabetes, heart failure, and hemodialysis. The program team has achieved international recognition through excellence in clinical care, collaborative dissemination of knowledge and advancement of telehealth technology through research and innovation.

The core goal: ensuring equitable access and quality of specialized service to patients in rural and remote areas by eliminating travel limitations. The core services include live videoconferencing over secure networks for:
• Patient care
• Family visiting
• Professional education
• Case conferencing.

The team has 16 peer-reviewed publications and 60+ abstracts specifically related to telehealth adoption and technological innovation and team members are frequently invited to speak at conferences and regularly host Canadian and international visitors.

The many program successes include serving as the pilot site for Ontario Telemedicine Network projects, including desktop videoconferencing and personal telemedicine pilots. This resulted in the program being awarded the 2009 Canadian Society of Telehealth Technology Innovation Award.

• Innovation in the Adoption of Health Informatics – Cancer Surgery Alberta Web Surgery Medical Record (WebSMR)

The Alberta Web Surgical Medical Record (SMR), the first known electronic surgical synoptic reporting system, is a success story both in terms of patient care and clinician uptake.

Today, 75% of Alberta surgeons who are eligible to perform cancer surgery, use the WebSMR system of pre-formatted templates, to document cancer surgeries in lieu of dictating an operative report. This allows them to obtain their real-time outcomes on a daily basis, which helps them determine the course of treatment and follow-up, future educational and training strategies, the need for guideline reviews and updates, waiting times, standard of care in a specific geographic location and more.

Alberta surgeons developed WebSMR in response to the difficulty in obtaining real-time data for outcomes analysis. The tool is now being implemented in selected Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia cancer centres by the pan-Canadian Synoptic Reporting Tools Project and under Cancer Surgery Alberta (CSA) leadship.

What’s behind the Alberta WebSMR success? Signficant factors are:
• committed leadership,
• cancer surgery champions and visionaries,
• excellent administrative and support staff; and
• rigorous employment of change management strategies.
CSA, a provinical program of the former Alberta Cancer Board (now Alberta Health Services, Cancer Care) implemented WebSMR with support from Canada Health Infoway’s Innovation and Adoption investment portfolio.

• Leadership in the Field of Health Informatics AwardDr. Francis Lau

Dr. Lau’s wide-ranging contributions, spanning health information system evaluation, terminology standards, palliative care informatics and health informatics (HI) education, reflect his integrated, collaborative approach to eHealth so that all participants are part of advancing Canadian HI. As a mentor and an educator, Dr. Lau creates a nurturing environment for students using experiential and collaborative research for a life-long learning mindset.

His current leadership with the eHealth Observatory at University of Victoria (UVic) shows how innovative health information science methodologies can evaluate the effects of the electronic health information system across the life cycle. In his words: “The aim of our research is to engage the healthcare community to help us create and use new knowledge systems that focus on adding value to patient care and safety.”

Career Highlights
• Clinical informatics research in palliative and end-of-life care, including establishing the largest known anonymized Palliative Performance Scale assessment database
• Publishing, with Canada Health Infoway, an evidence-based Health Information Systems conceptual framework, which Infoway adopted to evaluate the impacts of electronic health record (EHR) implementation initiatives across Canada and a meta-systematic review paper that is now used nationally as THE guide to design EHR evaluation studies and methods
• Leading the PhD/post-doctoral/practitioner research training initiative and collaborative distributed MSc program in HI with four western Canadian university partners, utilizing innovative e-learning
• Key leader in the growth of UVic’s School of Health Information where he is an active scholar, valued teacher and former Director

• Telehealth Technology Innovation (Presented by TELUS Health Solutions)MBTelehealth

MBTelehealth (MBT) is a leader in the development and advancement in the use of telehealth technologies. As Manitoba’s telehealth network, MBT has grown from 22 to almost 100 sites, and received multiple accolades including the Canadian Society of Telehealth (CST) Award of Excellence in 2007. Setting up services with technology in combination with clinical expertise, in a sustainable way, sets MBTelehealth apart.

Examples of MBTelehealth’s many innovative accomplishments include:
• Work with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind on counselling sessions for Aboriginals with vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy to improve sound quality and provide session facilitators with the ability to see patient facial expressions;

• An initiative at the Health Sciences Centre Renal Program in Winnipeg where five specialty services are provided by a social worker, pharmacist, nurse, physician and dietician via videoconferencing from the centre to the patient’s local health facility during a single telehealth appointment;

• A Store and Forward Pilot for dermatology consults, with the intent of reducing wait times and improving family physician/specialist communications and services for patients;

• Working with staff and providers at the Health Sciences Centre neonatal intensive-care unit and Telestroke program to implement standards for emergency consultations for an unstable neonate or a patient experiencing a CVA.

• Steven Huesing Undergraduate ScholarshipAshley Wilson, Co-operative Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences, Health Studies Program, University of Waterloo.

Awarded for:
The kind of spirit, dedication and innovation that Founding COACH President Steven Huesing brought to the field of health informatics (HI), as demonstrated by an undergraduate who is currently enrolled in a HI or a related program at an accredited post-secondary institution.

• Steven Huesing Graduate ScholarshipPavel Roshanov, Health Research Methodology Program, Dept of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University

Awarded for:
The kind of spirit, dedication and innovation that Founding COACH President Steven Huesing brought to the field of health informatics (HI), as demonstrated by a graduate student who is currently enrolled in a HI or a related program at an accredited post-secondary institution.

• Company of the Year: GE Healthcare

• Corporate Citizenship, Multi-National Company: Agfa Healthcare

• Corporate Citizenship, Small to Medium Enterprises: EMIS Inc.

• Healthcare Transformation: Agfa Healthcare

• Project Implementation Team: GE Healthcare and VANOC

Recipients of other industry awards presented before the gala were also recognized:

Canada Health Infoway Standards Collaborative Peer Awards

Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) Pinnacle Awards.

Posted December 2, 2010