Though medical care is often cutting edge, the information technology that supports it has been lagging the innovation curve for decades, and it needs a new mindset to catch up. Texas Health Resources CMIO Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., and CIO Ed Marx will share how their I.T. culture has learned to embrace innovation.

Texas Health Resources went from banning all social media to depending on it for information sharing and collaboration. Both Velasco and Marx are active on Twitter, and an in-house innovation competition culminated with YouTube videos explaining each entry. 

"Physicians have gotten a bad rap for being resistant to change, but they're embracing iPhones and iPads because of their ease of use and mobility," Velasco says. "In many cases their I.T. departments are unwilling to support their use of technology. There's a tension between innovation and the need to impose policies and procedures. Those are important, but I.T. departments have to be open to innovation as IT moves into the clinical workflow."

Velasco and Marx will talk about social networking as a catalyst for innovation. The organization has used networking tools to create a more "virtual" work environment, so that IT staff can work from home, a hospital, or the corporate headquarters with equal ease.

It's also relying heavily on listservs and other informal networks to share strategies with other organizations that use the Epicare EHR, in order to position itself to achieve meaningful use.

The two will discuss their strategies at "Creating and Sustaining Innovation in Health Care," scheduled for Monday, Feb. 21, from 11 a.m.-noon.




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