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 Viewpoint

HMTís Pioneer of Healthcare IT winner announced

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   By Phil Colpas, Managing Editor, December 2010

HMT1010_Phil_ColpasIt began with measured excitement. For the first time in HMT's history, we would utilize cutting-edge technology (for us, anyway; it's all relative) and allow readers to vote online for the 2010 Pioneer of Healthcare IT winner.
But this would not be the first — nor the last — time technology has let us down.

Because of technical difficulties, the ability to cast a vote on our Web site for the Pioneer of Healthcare IT winner was delayed and the voting module itself did not go live until Sept. 20. Therefore, we extended the vote time until mid-November, and are now ready — in this, our last issue of the year — to announce the Pioneer of Healthcare IT winner (we were originally going to make that announcement in the October issue).

Nonetheless, these technical snafus and delays do not dampen our enthusiasm as we finally get to share the results:

The six finalists were: Deborah Kohn, principal, Dak Systems Consulting; Richard P. Mansour, M.D., CMIO and VP, product innovation, Eclipsys; Paul Bleicher, M.D., CMO, Humedica; John Santmann, M.D., president and CEO, Wellsoft; W. Ed Hammond, director, Duke Center for Health Informatics; and Lori Wright, vice president and general manager, Symantec Health.

Nearly a thousand votes were cast. And the winner is (drum roll, please) Ö Richard P. Mansour, M.D.!

HMT will send Dr. Mansour a plaque commemorating his being named the Pioneer of Healthcare IT for 2010.

Board certified in internal medicine, oncology and hematology, Dr. Rick Mansour is CMIO and VP of product innovation at Eclipsys, supporting product planning and development of clinical solutions and services. He is currently an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center and works part time in the hematology/oncology clinic. Dr. Mansour is founding partner of Vital Software and participated in the development of Vital Software oncology products prior to selling the company. In addition, he has worked on the development of browser-based medical software prototypes for the pocket PC, prescription writing software and browser-based software for clinical research. He has two patent applications pending, one related to structured documentation and a second related to the automated abstraction of electronic medical records for construction of data cubes for advanced analytics.

Lori Wright came in second and Deborah Kohn finished in third place. Thank you to all who participated, especially our subscribers, and congratulations to the winners.

ohn Lennon, who would have turned 70 last month, famously said, "Life is what happens when you're busy doing other things."
A similar axiom can apply to some of history's greatest triumphs and inventions; many fantastic discoveries were found while searching for something else.
Case in point: Celebrating its 96th annual meeting in Chicago at the end of this month, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) — and, for that matter, modern medicine as we know it — wouldn't exist were it not for one such serendipitous accident.  
On November 8, 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen was trying to repeat an experiment in which cathode rays light up salts and darken a photographic plate. During one of his attempts, he happened to notice a green glow by a nearby fluorescent screen; when he held his hand between it and the cathode-ray tube, he could see his bones and soft tissue. Weeks after his discovery, he took the very first x-ray picture, photographing his wife's hand. Legend has it that when she saw her skeleton, she exclaimed, "I have seen my death!"
One can certainly understand Mrs. Roentgen's overreaction, especially in 1895, when such sights must have been thought akin to sorcery. And she brought up a valid point: Overexposure to x-rays can hurt you. In fact, one of modern-day radiology's biggest challenges is how to best use technology to ensure that patients aren't subjected to harmful — or even lethal — doses of radiation.
A huge problem is that the effects of radiation are cumulative; if records are not accurately kept, patients could easily have tests repeated unnecessarily over many years; their bodies bombarded by avoidable doses of radiation.
To that end, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) and the FDA have launched radiation safety initiatives to reduce unnecessary exposure in patients, according to an article published earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
According to ASTRO, the patient protection plan "will improve safety and quality and reduce the chances of medical errors." Meanwhile, the FDA is launching an initiative to: promote the safe use of imaging devices for medical use, support informed clinical decision making and increase patients' awareness of their own exposure.
The agency also is collaborating with other organizations to develop a medical imaging history card that will allow patients to track their own imaging history and share with physicians the cumulative history of radiation already received.
It's been 115 years since Mrs. Roentgen saw her death through an x-ray; it's time we used technology to make sure no one else has to.


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