Texas Health Resources Chief Medical Information Officer to Lead Key Committee of National Health IT Society

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ferdinand T. Velasco, M.D., chief medical information officer (CMIO) at Texas Health Resources, has been named chair of the Quality, Cost, Safety Committee of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the major health information technology association in the U.S. Velasco’s one-year appointment to lead the key committee begins July 1, 2011.

Dr. Ferdinand T. Velasco
Dr. Ferdinand T. Velasco
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As Texas Health’s CMIO, Velasco is the physician champion for the system’s health IT initiatives, such as the electronic health record (EHR). Texas Health recently received more than $19.5 million in Medicare incentive payments for meeting “meaningful use” criteria for its EHR. The health system was one of the first nationwide to receive the payments for helping advance quality and patient safety through its electronic health record, which Texas Health began implementing in its hospitals in 2006.

“Dr. Velasco has the skills and background to lead this major HIMSS committee that will advise providers on the effective use of IT to enhance quality and safety in a cost-effective manner,” said Stephen C. Hanson, FACHE, Texas Health’s senior executive vice president for system growth and integration. “He can speak from the authority of his experience in leading Texas Health’s EHR initiative and working with other major quality programs that are making a difference in North Texas.”

Hanson noted that Velasco’s leadership of the HIMSS committee aligns with Texas Health’s participation in national quality initiatives such as Partnership for Patients. Sponsored by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the initiative’s goal is to help eliminate preventable hospital injuries and complications.

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.

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. He was named one of the nation’s Top 25 Clinical Informaticists for 2010 by Modern Healthcare magazine.

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.

For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit TexasHealth.org.