50 Top Healthcare IT Experts, Part 1
Healthcare IT is blessed with many knowledgeable experts willing to share what they know with others. Narrowing that list down to 50 was a significant challenge. Today and tomorrow, Health Data Management offers this compilation of some of the guiding lights of the industry. Some have worked to advance the industry for nearly half a century, while others are newer voices who have taken on the industry’s new challenges. All are worthy of mention as a sample of those who are advancing the important work of healthcare IT. (Photo: Fotolia)
Suresh Balu
Program Director, The Duke Institute for Health Innovation

Balu is director of the Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) and provides strategy consulting to several groups at Duke. DIHI, which focuses on the use of data analytics to unearth new ways to provide effective care to patients, is part of the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, which links investigators with the resources, expertise, and information they need to more efficiently translate ideas from the discovery stage, through development and testing, and to innovations that improve health.
Lee Barrett
Executive Director, Electronic Health Network Accreditation Commission

Barrett created EHNAC 22 years to accredit health IT companies for meeting specific metrics for best practices. He has extensive experience in the insurance and electronic data interchange areas of healthcare and has served in multiple industry collaborations, including the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange.
Bryan Bliven
CIO, University of Missouri Health Care

Bliven has been a driving force behind the healthcare system’s massive IT push, linking 29,000 devices, including beds, laboratory equipment and patient monitors--to a systemwide connectivity hub. UM Health Care is a 2015 recipient of the HIMSS Davies Award and at Stage 7 on the association’s EHR Adoption model.
Kate Borten
President, Marblehead Group (consultancy)

Borten, a former information security officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Massachusetts General Hospital, is a certified information security professional, has authored several books and is a frequent speaker at conferences.
William Bria
Executive Vice President of Medical Informatics, CHIME

Bria was the long-time board chairman for the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems before joining CHIME in 2015. He’s served in a variety of roles in the healthcare industry and has been a leading spokesman for the role of chief medical information officers.
Bobbie Byrne, MD
System Vice President and CIO, Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare

Byrne recently led a $45 million implementation of an Epic EHR across the three hospitals and ancillary facilities at Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare, a job made even trickier by the fact that the health system was created by the recent merger that bought Elmhurst Memorial Hospital and other facilities into the fold.
Chuck Christian
Vice President of Technology & Engagement, Indiana Health Information Exchange

In healthcare for 40 years including 26 as a CIO and the current chair of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, Christian has seen it all and freely shares his experiences.
Vince Ciotti
Principal and Founder, HIS Professionals LLC (consulting)

In the industry for 42 years with tons of experience as a vendor before going to the other side and becoming a vendor selection consultant, Ciotti knows his stuff like few others. Beware—he’s blunt and not just a little, but you’ll learn a lot and get a better contract.
Karen DeSalvo
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology

ONC leader since early 2014, DeSalvo has played a leading role in advancing the meaningful use program, interoperability and free access to health information. She also provides oversight to federal health IT policy as the healthcare industry transitions into new reimbursement approaches and serves as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health. Before coming to ONC, she was New Orleans’ health commissioner.
Mark Dill
Director of Information Security, Cleveland Clinic

Do you need help creating a Book of Evidence to demonstrate good faith in HIPAA privacy and security compliance? Dill has done it, says it is easy and ensures an organization won’t be overwhelmed if audited.
Linn Freedman
Partner, Robinson & Cole LLP

Freedman specializes in data privacy and security law covering compliance, emergency breach response, investigations and related issues.
Doug Fridsma, MD
President and CEO, AMIA

Fridsma has been at the helm of the American Medical Informatics Association for about a year. Before that, he played a key role as chief data scientist within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
Bruce Merlin Fried
Partner, Dentons (law firm)

An expert on healthcare law and policy, Fried served in the Health Care Financing Administration (CMS) overseeing policies and operations of the Medicare program, including the Medicare managed care program.
Kent Gale
Founder, KLAS Enterprises

KLAS is a research firm, which regularly surveys thousands of providers to assess the performance of health information technology vendors. Gale has been instrumental in the emergence of KLAS as a respected unbiased source of information on various components of the healthcare information technology infrastructure.
Larry Garber, MD
Medical Director for Informatics, Reliant Medical Group

Garber designed a master patient index that now holds over 1 million patients and helped design a secure architecture for health information exchanges via an AHRQ grant that simplifies the patient consent process and to integrate clinical data directly into other EHRs.
John Glaser
Senior vice president, Cerner

As senior vice president at Cerner, Glaser focuses on driving technology and product strategies, interoperability and government policy development. He was former CEO of the Health Services business unit of Siemens Healthcare which Cerner acquired this year. He previously was vice president and CIO at Partners HealthCare System and was also the vice president of information systems at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He’s served in many roles in industry organizations as well.
Daniel Gottlieb
Partner, McDermott, Will & Emery (law firm)

Gottlieb covers multiple areas of the healthcare industry including HIT acquisitions, privacy/security, fraud and abuse, and reimbursement.
Adam Greene
Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (law firm)

Green is a former senior HIT and privacy specialist in the HHS Office for Civil Rights HIPAA enforcement division.
John Halamka, MD
Chief Information Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston

Most CIOs regularly share information and knowledge with peers; Dr. Halamka is an evangelist on a higher level, trying to educate the entire industry. His blog, “Life as a Healthcare CIO,” is required reading. Check out his Oct. 28 summary of the ONC 2015 Certification Rule.
W. Ed Hammond, PhD
Director, Duke Center for Health Informatics

For many years, Hammond has been a key spokesman for the healthcare IT industry, leading innovation in countless ways. He’s still active in leading the Center for Health Informatics, Duke’s academic home for health informatics and is engaged with interoperability efforts with HL7.
David Holtzman
Vice President of Compliance Services, CynergisTek

Holtzman was an official at the HHS Office for Civil Rights, which enforces the HIPAA privacy, security and breach notification rules. On the consulting side now, he knows what the feds want and don’t want when assessing compliance.
Elizabeth O. Johnson, RN
Chief Information Officer, Acute Care Hospitals and Applied Clinical Informatics

Johnson was tapped to lead one of the biggest initiatives in Tenet’s history: leading a $620 million project to implement electronic health records in 49 Tenet hospitals over a four-year period. Now, she’s helping standardize EHRs at eight hospitals Tenet has acquired through a recent acquisition of Vanguard Health, as well as continuing to enhance the 80-hospital system’s electronic capabilities.
Kyle Johnson
System Vice President and CIO, Eastern Maine HealthCare

Before moving to Eastern Maine in early 2014 to develop a foundation for population health, Johnson was the lead on deploying an enterprise analytics platform across the 84 hospitals in 21 states that comprise Trinity Health. The platform runs in the cloud, pulling together hospital EHR data, physician billing and clinical data, other data from Trinity's own data warehouse and, lastly, claims files, pharmacy fulfillment records and patient eligibility files from a number of ACO partners.
Devin Jopp, EdD
President and CEO, Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange

WEDI is a collaboration of stakeholders working to enhance exchange of health information. The group also serves as an advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services. Jopp has been in the lead role at WEDI since 2011.
Pat Kennedy
President, PJ Consulting Inc.

Kennedy was an early leader in the healthcare electronic data interchange industry and now is a payer consultant.