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National Health IT Society Honors Texas Health Resources Physician Leaders

ARLINGTON, Texas — Two physician leaders with Texas Health Resources have been recognized by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the nation’s major health information technology association, with the society’s annual Book of the Year Award for 2012.

Ferdinand Velasco, M.D.
Ferdinand Velasco, M.D.
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Luis Saldaña, M.D.
Luis Saldaña, M.D.
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Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., Texas Health’s chief health information officer, and Luis Saldaña, M.D., the system’s associate chief medical information officer, served on a team of eight clinicians nationwide that completely rewrote “Improving Outcomes with Clinical Decision Support,” a guide to clinical decision support (CDS) implementation.

CDS is a process for enhancing health-related decisions and actions with pertinent, organized clinical knowledge and patient information to improve health and health care delivery, according to HIMSS. CDS technology tools support electronic health records’ (EHR) capability to improve care at the point of delivery.

“Drs. Velasco and Saldaña are helping health systems nationwide optimize their use of technology to improve care delivery and outcomes,” said Jonathan W. Scholl, chief strategy officer and executive vice president of Texas Health Resources. “They draw from the authority of their experience in leading Texas Health’s EHR initiative that is helping transform health care in North Texas.”

All 14 wholly owned Texas Health Resources hospitals are linked through the system’s EHR and have the capability to securely share information across the health system. Since 2006 Texas Health has invested more than $200 million in its EHR, which contains more than 5.7 million patient records.

Velasco leads the system’s CDS, medical and nursing informatics, business intelligence and data analytics functions across the continuum of care, including systemwide optimization of the EHR. Before joining Texas Health as the system’s first chief medical information officer in 2002, he served as an assistant professor at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He simultaneously practiced as a cardiothoracic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. He received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine.

Saldaña is a practicing emergency physician at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and the medical director for CDS for Texas Health’s systemwide EHR. He coordinates the strategy and integration for implementing decision support tools for clinicians within Texas Health’s EHR. He received his medical degree from UT Southwestern Medical School, M.B.A. from the Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business and B.S. in biochemistry from Texas A&M University.

The HIMSS Book of the Year Award honors a book that offers outstanding practical guidance and strategic insight for health care information and management system professionals, according to HIMSS. The winning team will be recognized at the HIMSS annual conference in New Orleans on March 5.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 25 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, Huguley Memorial Medical Center, Texas Health Physicians Group, outpatient facilities, behavioral health and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit

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