Health IT achievers honoured at
TORONTO – COACH is pleased to announce the 2007 Award winners and Steven
Huesing Scholarship recipient. The awards were presented at the Canadian
Health Informatics Awards Gala at the elegant Arcadian Court in downtown
Toronto on November 15. The categories included Lifetime Achievement;
Leadership; Innovation; Community-based Physician Innovation; the Steven
Huesing Scholarship; and the Emerging Leader in Healthcare Informatics.
The Emerging Leader in Health Informatics Award
Presented by the Courtyard Group
Individuals in the first five years of their health informatics career
who have demonstrated leadership and early success in the field.
Awarded to: Dr. Chris O’ Connor, Intensivist and Director of Medical
Informatics, Trillium Health Centre, Mississauga, Ont. (Pictured is Dr.
O’Connor with Trillium Health Centre President & CEO, Janet Davidson,
Dr. Chris O’Connor has demonstrated outstanding leadership by helping
physicians and clinicians move forward on the e-Health journey with the
development of a new wireless protocol. This enabled staff and patients
at Trillium Health Centre to use cellular communication devices in the
hospital. He then created the Blackberry Innovation Project, which
substantially changed workflow with corresponding benefits in patient
Dr. O’Connor also acted as the “thought leader” and project steward for
the Order Set Transformation project at Trillium. This enterprise
provided tremendous clinical and patient safety benefits while preparing
the clinic for the Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) project.
A host of other hospitals have implemented this same change with the
support of Dr. O’Connor and his team. With experience in Emergency,
Critical Care and Internal Medicine, and equipped with formal studies in
Biomedical Informatics, Dr. O’Connor has been an advocate and a champion
for moving the health informatics agenda ahead, not only at his home
base, but across Canada.
A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to COACH
Founding President Steven Huesing. Steven, the editor/publisher of
COACH’s official journal, Healthcare Information Management &
Communications Canada, has shaped the profession for more than three
Leadership in the Field of Health Informatics Award
Awarded for: Outstanding, ongoing contributions by an individual, with
leadership recognized within his/her jurisdiction or more broadly.
Awarded to: Jean Huot, CIO, Montreal University Health Centre and McGill
University Health Centre.
Jean Huot is recognized as one of the leading CIOs and healthcare
executives in the province of Quebec. A visionary in the field of
healthcare informatics, Mr. Huot is respected by his peers for his solid
leadership, credibility and discipline of “getting things done.”
His career in the healthcare sector began in 1992, when he created the
Healthcare Directorate, positioning his employer, CGI, as a key IT
service provider in both Quebec and Canada. In 1998, he was appointed
CIO of the McGill University Health Centre. A year later, the Montreal
Health Region requested his contribution to implement and co-supervise
operations of the Technocentre of Montreal, a data centre and service
provider for all 140 health and social services organizations within the
Montreal region. In 2002, he was also appointed CIO of the Centre
hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), a “first” among
previously competing major teaching hospitals. From that point on, Mr.
Huot had an uncanny ability to fulfill his roles and responsibilities as
CIO of both major university hospitals while supervising activities at
the Technocentre of Montreal.
He is currently leading, with an estimated $200 million budget, the
modernization of the information technology infrastructure of the
largest university hospitals in Quebec, within the context of their
construction of new ultra-modern installations. Despite the different
management styles of both organizations, he has demonstrated the
effectiveness of his guidance across a variety of audiences and received
broad acceptance of his vision for integrated clinical information
applications and tools empowering care providers and benefiting a
community of over 3 million.
The concept of a unified CIS handling most of the electronic health
record has been recently adopted by the Montreal Health Agency for its
replication within several major Montreal hospitals.
Innovation in the Adoption of Health Informatics Award
Awarded for: An information technology project that has, through
innovation and commitment, been successfully integrated into the health
Awarded to: The Ventilator Associated Pneumonia (VAP) Surveillance
System, Calgary Health Region, Calgary.
Ventilator-associated pneumonia is considered to be one of the more
serious life-threatening ICU complications, despite it being entirely
preventable. The Ventilator Associated Pneumonia Surveillance System,
demonstrates an innovative example of using health informatics for the
purpose of quality improvement and patient safety.
The project was completed in one year and integrates data from several
hospital and departmental systems to produce key information used in the
evaluation of suspected cases of VAP. Infection control practitioners
have access to patient demographics, vital physiologic data, radiology
and microbiology reports and case-specific antibiotic utilization to
study every case.
Such data also enables the Department to assess the incidence of this
calculation by site, time of year and by case mix. These findings drive
improvement processes, and have resulted in a 75 percent decrease in
incidence that, if sustained, could potentially translate to a $1.7
million savings annually and ensure continued active participation of
The VAP Surveillance System project team members are Reza Shahpori,
Critical Care Clinical Information System Manager; Alan Delosangeles,
System Analyst; Pamela Ritchie, Infection Control Specialist, and Dr.
Dan Zuege, Critical Care Physician Consultant.
Community Based Physician/Innovator Award
Presented by the Canadian Medical Association and Practice Solutions
Awarded to: A practicing, community-based medical doctor who has shown
outstanding leadership or innovation in the use of health IT in medical
Awarded to: Dr. Lewis O’Brien, Algoma District Medical Group, Sault Ste.
Family physician Dr. Lewis O’Brien has practiced with the Algoma
District Medical Group in Sault Ste. Marie for the last 22 years. This
Group Health Centre serves more than 62,000 primary care patients. It is
one of the most technologically advanced primary care settings in the
country, having used electronic records for the past 10 years.
Dr. O’Brien has been instrumental in the installation and continued
development and success of the EMR system to support and improve the
care provided at the centre. He has been steadfast in his leadership of
the process of change management. His understanding and support have
been instrumental in the evolution and success of the centre’s
technological innovations. He has challenged the system further in the
area of chronic disease management by designing templates that assist
providers in the treatment of diabetes and other vascular diseases.
In addition to his EMR responsibilities, Dr. Lewis manages a large
primary care practice at the centre and mentors others, enabling the
benefits to accrue for both providers and patients. Consequently, he has
contributed immensely to the national success and recognition of the
Group Health Centre.
Steven Huesing Scholarship
Awarded to: A student currently enrolled in a health informatics or
related program at an accredited post-secondary institution. The
scholarship was developed to recognize the spirit, dedication and
innovation that COACH Founding President Steven Huesing has brought to
the field of health informatics.
Awarded to: Dr. Samina Raza Abidi.
Dr. Samina Raza Abidi is a student in the Interdisciplinary PhD program
at Dalhousie University with a research focus in health informatics. As
a clinician, she has witnessed first-hand the information and knowledge
gaps inherent within most healthcare systems, and the ensuing
practice-related challenges that health professionals face. She believes
that the correct and scientific application of health informatics can
bridge the knowledge gap in improving patient’s care, flow and safety,
and health professionals can be supported by the deployment of
point-of-care decision support, care planning and risk assessments
Throughout her academic and professional career, Dr. Raza Abidi has
consistently aimed to gain the right expertise to effect positive
changes in the delivery of healthcare. Her first exposure to health
informatics goes back to 1998 in Malaysia, when she became involved as a
medical doctor in the conception and design of the Malaysian
Tele-Healthcare project. This experience made her realize the potential
of IT to influence changes in healthcare delivery.
Dr. Raza Abidi completed a Masters program in Information Technology in
2001, and got involved in research projects concerning the
personalization of patient educational material and use of past cases
for clinical decision support. In her PhD research, she is pursuing the
rather complex issue of developing patient-specific care plans for
standardizing patient care and ensuring patient safety – the decision
support framework will assist physicians in making correct therapeutic
choices when dealing with patient co-morbidities.
Her other research achievements include the development of a clinical
decision support system for breast-cancer follow-up in collaboration
with Cancer Care Nova Scotia, by computerizing the Canadian guideline on
breast cancer follow-up and incorporating it as a decision support tool
for family physicians performing breast cancer follow-up at their
clinics. This innovative research has led to three publications at top
health informatics conferences. She has also developed two undergraduate
health informatics courses and hopes that through her research and
teaching activities, she will be able to contribute to the advancement
of health informatics and in turn help to improve healthcare.
Recipients of the CHITTA 2007 Awards were:
Company of the Year:
Project Implementation Team of the Year:
Initiate Systems and Saskatchewan Client Registry
Healthcare Transformation Award:
Corporate Citizenship Multi-National Company Award:
Corporate Citizenship Major Canadian Company Award:
Borden Ladner Gervais
COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association is dedicated to promoting
the use and practice of health informatics within the Canadian health
system through information sharing, networking, education, conferences
and communication. Founded in 1975, COACH has a diverse and
multi-disciplinary membership of over 1,000 individuals with common
interests in sharing ideas and efforts. COACH is advancing the practice
of health informatics and is one of the most dynamic resources in the
health industry in Canada. For more information, visit the COACH website
CHITTA is the Health Division of ITAC. (www.chitta.ca)
The concept of CHITTA was developed in late 2001 leading to its
"creation’ by a dedicated group of CEOs and senior executives of leading
Canadian companies providing products and services to the Canadian
healthcare community in April, 2002. Their firms represent a broad
spectrum of ICT services to an equally broad spectrum of Canada’s
healthcare delivery system and its supporting infrastructure.