Texas Health Resources Chief Medical Information Officer Named Top Clinical Informaticist

Dr. Ferdinand T. Velasco
Dr. Ferdinand T. Velasco
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas Health Resources Chief Medical Information Officer Ferdinand Velasco, M.D., has been selected as one of the Top 25 Clinical Informaticists in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare magazine.

The new award recognizes medical professionals who excel at clinical informatics — using patient-care data to improve the clinical and operational performance of their health care organizations.

Velasco was selected because of his leadership in clinical technology initiatives such as development and implementation of an electronic health record (EHR) across Texas Health’s 13-hospital system. By 2011 all of Texas Health’s facilities will be using the EHR, which is a computer-based family of systems for collecting, organizing, sharing and managing clinical and administrative patient information. The ultimate goal is improved quality of care and patient safety.

In addition to his clinical and technology leadership position with the system’s electronic health record, Velasco has filled a key role in explaining the EHR and communicating its benefits to the public. He is the public face of Texas Health’s EHR in a popular, interactive social media site, “Dr. V Explains Electronic Health Records.”

“We are delighted and honored by this well-deserved recognition for Dr. Velasco,” said Stephen C. Hanson, senior executive vice president for system growth and integration. “As a respected industry leader in the innovative use of information technology in clinical care, he is helping make care safer and more cost-effective for patients not just in North Texas, but nationwide.”

Texas Health’s successful EHR implementation is demonstrated by physician adoption of Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE), an important component of the EHR. Texas Health has achieved approximately greater than 80 percent of adoption of CPOE by its independent physicians, who are voluntarily choosing to use CPOE.

In addition to his EHR leadership, Velasco oversees clinical decision support for Texas Health’s physicians, giving caregivers an array of proven technology tools that ultimately enhance clinical performance. Major patient safety and care initiatives involving clinical technology have included VTE (venous thromboembolism) prevention, medication error prevention, and standardization of clinical protocols.

Velasco’s recognition follows Texas Health’s selection in September for the tenth consecutive year to the 2010 InformationWeek 500 List of Top Technology Innovators Across America. Previously in 2010, the system was named by CIO magazine as a CIO 100 recipient for IT innovation and selected for Computerworld’s Best Places to Work in Information Technology list.

“Through his work with the EHR and its ability to personalize care, Dr. Velasco is helping make health care human again,” said Edward Marx, Texas Health chief information officer. “His clinical and technology expertise, and that of our entire IT team, are making a difference every day for our patients.”

Along with his work at Texas Health, Velasco serves as chair of the eMeasure Review Panel for the National Quality Forum, a nonprofit organization that sets national priorities for performance improvement and endorses standards for reporting of quality measures.

Prior to joining Texas Health in 2002, he was assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, where he served as physician champion for the medical center’s implementation of a computerized physician order entry system. He was previously a cardiothoracic surgeon at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

He received his medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine and bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from the University of California, Riverside.

The list of the Top 25 Clinical Informaticists is included in the Nov. 8 issue of Modern Healthcare.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 14 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education.

Texas Health is a partner in six additional hospitals or surgery centers. Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.