6 transformative health IT execs share their greatest innovations

Health system IT and digital leaders have the opportunity to create and implement any number of innovations in the increasingly tech-driven healthcare industry.

To that end, several of those executives were recently named to Constellation Research's 2023 Business Transformation 150 for their technological leadership. Becker's reached out to them to ask what innovation they are most proud of.

Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

Omer Awan. Chief Data and Digital Officer of Atrium Health (Charlotte, N.C.): "The development and advancement of our virtual health technology platforms over the past two years has been a huge success for the organization and our patients. We have been able to connect providers to where patients are for quality care and enhanced patient experience. This also helped us partner with a local school system to provide much needed (and scarce) behavioral health services to children virtually."

Kathy Azeez-Narain. Chief Digital Officer of Hoag (Newport Beach, Calif.): "There is truly no digital solution that can positively impact health outcomes without that human connection and while there are many initiatives across Hoag that I am proud of, one that is currently high on my list is our recent launch of Hoag Compass. It's a product focused on providing care via a physical and digital experience, not only at the episodic moments when someone is sick but also throughout your health journey (think preventive).

"With Compass, you get access to a dedicated care team that spans your physician, dietician, exercise specialist, mindfulness coach and care coordinator, who are all accessible in person or virtually/asynchronously via the app. Beyond that, the app gives you access to services like a personalized care plan, pharmacy delivery services, video/text communication with your physician and coaches, connection to Hoag world-renowned specialists virtually when care is needed beyond the primary care needs, and much more."

Denise Basow, MD. Chief Digital Officer of Ochsner Health (New Orleans): "With our Ochsner Connected Health suite of products, we are evolving the area of remote patient monitoring to 'remote patient management' for chronic diseases, combining technology with processes and people to achieve outcomes that are important to patients, employers, payers and health systems.

"This unique combination of tech and services has allowed us to bend the cost curve for the conditions that are responsible for driving the highest healthcare expenses, while also reaching diverse patient populations — including traditionally underserved populations — to engage them in their care and improve health equity and quality."

Christopher Longhurst, MD. Chief Medical Officer and Chief Digital Officer of UC San Diego Health: Dr. Longhurst has helped lead numerous digital innovations at UC San Diego Health. Over the last few years, he takes the most pride in the development and expansion of advanced analytics technologies and governance across the enterprise. This infrastructure has enabled a wide gamut of tools, from descriptive analytics of vital pandemic data that contributed to the national discussion on COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness — enabled in part by the privacy-focused integration of student and employee health records within the health system EHR — to predictive analytics like EMR-integrated artificial intelligence algorithms to support care for COVID-19 patients.

Benjamin Maisano. Chief Digital and Innovation Officer of Atlantic Health (Morristown, N.J.): "One that I am most proud of and that has gotten solid traction and holds promise for future expansion is our virtual urgent care offering. Like most health systems, we originally relied on a large national virtual-only vendor to offer 24/7 urgent care online that was not well integrated and could not mesh well with our local health system's robust network of specialists and in-person options.

"The solution required we do a hybrid build/buy with new modern software-as-a-service technology partners embedded into our own digital front door. We partnered with the Atlantic urgent-care team to design a workflow and solution that allowed for the clinical and ops team to efficiently manage both walk-ins and virtuals, and be well integrated into our Epic EMR.

"Consumers got a seamless experience to see a doctor quickly by putting themselves into a new queueing system and use photo uploads, chat and video with each step of the process across registration, nursing vitals and medical history, and the visit with the physician. … We now have a flexible platform we can evolve for other use cases, introduce connected devices, live transcription, orchestrated referrals, care gaps and customer relationship management-based patient insights, and bring to other service lines that are looking for self-service and on-demand workflow improvements."

Jefferson McMillan-Wilhoit. Director of Health Informatics and Technology (Chief Informatics and Technology Officer) of Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center (Waukegan, Ill.): "I reserve the top spot for our vaccine orchestration system. This first-of-its-kind technology enabled our community to achieve a vaccination rate of over 80 percent of the eligible population. Lake County was the first in the country (that we know of) to have such a system. Made up of three distinct components, the vaccine orchestration system enforced policies and procedures to assure an equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

"At the core of the system is AllVax, our community-facing registration system where members of our community could raise their hand and say they wanted to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when it became available. VacVision tracked the movement and distribution of vaccines across our sites and others throughout the county. ProConnect was the last interaction of the system, enabling providers to assure our community members were eligible and able to get the vaccine and record the administration. All three systems communicated with each other on the unified Salesforce platform.

"All told, the system took 60 team members 11 weeks to build. To top it off, the team pushed to release the initial AllVax site two weeks early because the first FDA-approved vaccine was ready earlier than we expected. … I have never been more proud of a system, but more importantly, I have never been more proud of my team."

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