This year's top innovators in healthcare have advanced the industry in many ways. From inventing new tools to reaching the underserved to improving military members' access to care, the men and women on the following pages are blazing a new trail. They are driving interoperability, connectivity and improved patient safety and care. These innovators are virtual catalysts whose efforts are advancing the clinical-IT link, serving as new business models and helping provide less invasive testing and treatment. By proactively addressing clinical and technological needs now, their work betters healthcare for all of us. For that, we salute them.
Nominations for "Innovators," who are all employed by healthcare providers or nonprofit organizations serving the healthcare industry, were solicited via online ballots and visitors to HealthImaging.com and from subscribers of Health Imaging News and Health Imaging & IT.
Ballots were accepted from January 19th through February 9th, 2007.
Sandra Bennett Bruce President and CEO, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, Boise, Idaho
Under Bruce's leadership, 365-bed regional referral and trauma center Saint Alphonsus has implemented a thorough telemedicine program for cardiology, radiology, pediatrics, neonatology and home care; and both physician and patient portals. The facility also is about to launch an e-ICU program, robotics for interactive surgery services, CPOE, EMR, and the opening of the Center for Advanced Healing, featuring the most sophisticated technologies and evidence-based design principles. Bruce has overseen a focus on involving patients in their healthcare through an expanded website and offering free access to wireless high speed internet in patient rooms.
Premindra Chandraratna, MD, FRCP, FACC, FACPChief of Cardiology, Long Beach VA Medical Center, Long Beach, Calif.
Chandraratna invented a low-profile, spherical transducer device that can be attached to the chest wall for continuous imaging of heart wall motion. The device eliminates the inconvenience and cost of serial echocardiograms for patients whose status requires them. Imaging is performed for one to eight hours and images are stored on videotape or magnetooptical disk. The ultrasound system records for five seconds every minute to reduce the amount of data recorded. The transducer permits rapid diagnosis and triage and the ability to monitor heart failure treatment and procedures in the cardiac cath lab.
John Cheatham, MD, FAAP, FACC, FSCAI Director of Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Therapy, The Heart Center, Columbus Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio
Cheatham treats patients with complex congenital heart disease and played an integral role in the development of a five-axis FPD positioner released by Toshiba. This creative, unique C-arm design allows unparalleled access to the patient. One of the most significant contributions of the equipment is its impact on infants born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome which is fatal if left untreated. Rather than the conventional treatment of three open-heart surgeries, a less invasive procedure is now available with promising early and mid-term results. The Heart Center Hybrid team has successfully performed this procedure on babies weighing as little as two pounds. Cheatham also has helped design new devices and catheters used to treat congenital heart disease.
Michael Day Director of IT, Daughters of Charity Health System, Los Altos Hills, Calif.
DCHS operates six facilities between San Francisco and Los Angeles with a need for efficient emergency departments. Day implemented an ED information system to address increasing ED volume, staff decreases and the need to absorb some of the 40,000 annual ED visits from a neighboring hospital that recently closed. He developed a forum for simultaneous IT and physician input. The results have been an increase between $36 million to $42 million in gross revenues, elimination of lost charts and transcription errors, reduced length of stay despite volume increase and increasing ED level of service charges due to better documentation. Day also is working on ongoing process evaluation to continual improvement.
Geoffrey DeTolve, MD Director of Medical Informatics, Bronson Healthcare Group, Kalamazoo, Mich.
As a member of IT management, DeTolve leads initiatives directly impacting physicians and other caregivers, and serves as the chairman of the Physician Computer Utilization Committee and the Clinical IT Roundtable.