Health Data Management recently released its 2016 list of Most Powerful Women in Health IT. The list includes 75 honorees spread across three categories: thought leaders, provider/payer executives and chief information officer/IT leaders. Healthcare Dive shines the spotlight on five of them.
Holly Rimmasch, chief clinical officer, Health Catalyst in Salt Lake City
Rimmasch thanks nursing and her time spent working as a case manager for sparking her interest in healthcare IT. Working with patients, she would see the same gaps in healthcare over and over as she helped them navigate the healthcare system. “I started to recognize that data and information systems were really important tools to understand the patterns and how to improve care,” she says.
"Being able to predict how patients will react to different interventions and to understand risk as a care manager, how we could prevent readmissions by understanding how to target individuals, it really informed me tremendously about the importance of healthcare technology, ” Rimmasch adds.
In her current role, Rimmasch’s main job is working to improve patient care by ensuring that Health Catalyst’s products and services are developed in a way that allows hospitals and health systems to maximize use of the data they own across numerous disparate systems.
Two areas she’s devoted a lot of time and effort to are heart failure and sepsis, building and measuring best practices and understanding how to predict which patients to target for interventions. Both efforts have paid off for clients and their patients, Rimmasch says. The heart failure initiative has reduced unnecessary readmissions, increased patient satisfaction and improved quality of life for those patients. And there has been an “immense improvement” in sepsis control, with both lives and dollars saved.
Meredith Phillips, chief information privacy and security officer, Henry Ford Health System
With more than 60,000 network-connected medical devices and tens of thousands of other in-house and mobile technologies to oversee, Phillips knows something about data security. As chief information privacy and security officer for Henry Ford’s six Detroit area hospitals, she leads a team of 47 full-time equivalents to trouble shoot and solve potential breaches and other concerns.
And there is never a shortage of projects. Phillips’ current focus includes determining how to secure mobile devices within the hospital environment as well as preventing and responding to malware and ransomware threats and attacks.
“We know that mobile technology is a part of the framework now … It’s become part of the expectation that there is a space for doctors and clinicians and guests and patients and their families to be able to bring their mobile devices into our environment,” she tells Healthcare Dive. “So we are continually working and revising our BYOD strategy to be able to address that."
In an attempt to better secure the thousands of medical devices that are connected at any given time to the health system’s network, Phillips recently took the unusual step of bringing the clinical engineering team into the IT division. Her team is also strengthening its connection with device manufacturers.
“I think we will continue to work through those cultural changes until privacy and security become more of the foundation of the culture of confidentiality,” Phillips says.
Fatima Paruk, chief medical officer, Allscripts Analytics
Paruk oversees development, design and implementation of predictive models to improve healthcare and support the push for precision medicine. Extrapolating “big data insights” from more than 40 million patients, she and her team help providers develop individualized patient care plans and optimize patient outcomes.
The goal is a “holistic approach to integrated clinical care, made possible by informatics and interoperability among data sources, EHRs, devices and social/environmental data,” she tells Healthcare Dive.
Her accomplishments include developing content for the Allscripts Population Health Analytics product and optimizing visualization of large-scale data in real-time using open-source technology. She also serves as clinical leader for the firm’s Analytics Research and Development and looks for opportunities to collaborate with other healthcare industry players on population health and public policy initiatives.
A physician and public health expert with experience in global response efforts, Paruk established Kenya’s trauma registry, a digital system for injury surveillance. She also helped to develop Kenya’s national EMS policy, which launched a year ago.
The biggest challenge in health IT today? “Normalizing data so that data from numerous sources can be used to derive value,” says Paruk.
Carol Steltenkamp, practicing pediatrician and chief medical information officer, University of Kentucky HealthCare
Steltenkamp’s focus is squarely on enhancing patient care and health IT figures large in that goal.
“Between the mobility and the speed and the volume of information that’s available just at your fingertips through the use of IT, it is just incredible,” she tells Healthcare Dive.
As a pediatrician, it’s also “great fun” to be able to pull up a growth chart or immunization record and show parents, she says. “It becomes a true aid not only in documenting what you’re doing with the patient, but also in education — in my case parental education.”
Steltenkamp uses EHRs in her practice and has ensured that they’re fully deployed throughout UKHC and the ambulatory setting. She also is co-director of the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science, spearheading projects that improve “physician usability with our clinical systems, order set cleanup with the imbedding of expert knowledge and radiology clinical decision support.”
Her view of the future is high expectations. “Healthcare information technology is still in the toddler stages,” she says. “ There is so much more that we can do.”
Bobbie Carroll, senior director of patient safety and clinical informatics, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics Minnesota
Carroll oversees the development of systemwide efforts to continuously improve patient care, educates personnel about IT systems and updates and identifies new opportunities to use technology at the bedside and to improve clinical workflow and decisionmaking.
Among her major achievements is linking Children’s EHR and infusion pump vendors, making it the first U.S. hospital to have a fully integrated bar code medication system.
Her greatest accomplishment: “Being the voice within the pediatric industry to advance standard development that would impact improved pediatric medication administration beyond our walls.”
Carroll also directs a program aimed at reducing patient injuries through the use of systems that proactively identify risk and encourage reporting of adverse events and near misses.
A changing healthcare environment and competing priorities top her list of challenges to advancing health IT. Providers need to be “managing today, yet anticipating the needs of tomorrow to strategically enable technology at the right time and place,” she says.