Guest Blog by: Elaine Ayres, MS RD
Over the past several years I have had the pleasure of working with a number of informaticians both in my “day job” as well as with initiatives through the Academy. Interdisciplinary teams are common in the traditional acute health care setting. In her article on effective health care teams Sandra Leggat states “The division of labor among medical, nursing and allied health practitioners means that no single professional can deliver a complete episode of healthcare”. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/7/17
Interdisciplinary teams are equally important for health information technology. Implementation teams for electronic health records require that “end users” participate from the beginning on the design and functionality of a system. On the larger stage of health care IT policy and standards coordinated through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, interdisciplinary participation is critical. Without the participation of subject matter experts, standards lack the wisdom of boots-on-the-ground practice. As clinician-informaticians bring both clinical and information management expertise to the table, the resulting standards reflect both best-practice healthcare and sound information management practices.
One such clinician informatician is Russell Leftwich, MD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer for the Tennessee Office of eHealth Initiatives based in Nashville, TN. Russ has participated in many of the Standards and Interoperability initiatives through the Office of the National Coordinator, lending his expertise as an allergist and informatician. In addition, Russ has participated in HL7 patient care standards development for allergies and intolerances. Through each of these activities, Russ has been the consummate team player, recognizing the unique perspectives of the various subject matter experts. As a result, sound nutritional practices and principles have been included in the development of these standards.
The Health Information Management Systems Society or HIMSS has taken note of Russ’ talents as well! Dr. Leftwich is the 2011 recipient of the HIMSS 2011 Physician IT Leadership Award.
Congratulations to Russ for your continued dedication to health care informatics and your support of the nutrition community. It has been an honor to work with you and we look forward to many more collaborations in the future.