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Indianapolis Doc Recognized as One of Nation's Top Health Info Tech Experts

November 14, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- Wishard Health Services chief medical information officer, Paul Dexter, M.D., a Regenstrief Institute investigator, has been named one of America's leading clinical informaticists by Modern Healthcare. The announcement was made earlier today.

Dr. Dexter is an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the director of clinical applications at Wishard.

"Dr. Dexter's pioneering work has resulted in improvements in the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of care provided here at Wishard and worldwide," said Lisa E. Harris, M.D., CEO and medical director for Wishard Health Services and also a Regenstrief Institute investigator. "Improving care for patients is at the heart of everything Paul does, and the advances made through his leadership in health information technology have true global impact. There is no one more deserving of this prestigious recognition than Paul."

Modern Healthcare, a leading source of health care business and policy news, research and information, selected 25 medical professionals for its Top Clinical Informaticists list. To develop the list, the magazine reviewed how the individuals excel in using patient care data to improve both the clinical and financial performance of their health care organizations.

"Wishard Health Services is one of the largest safety net health care systems in the nation with more than 1.4 million outpatient visits per year, and is among the highest in quality ratings and lowest in cost. This level of success doesn't just happen. Health care is an information business, and the complex swirl of data on individual patients threatens to drown the practicing doctors and nurses and could actually worsen care. Dr. Paul Dexter has led the informatics evolution – revolution, truth be told – at Wishard," said William Tierney, M.D., president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute and chief of internal medicine at Wishard Health Services. Dr. Tierney also serves as associate dean for clinical effectiveness research at the IU School of Medicine and is an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Chancellor's Professor.

For more than 40 years, the Wishard-Regenstrief partnership has produced groundbreaking work that provides the foundation for electronic medical record systems in use around the globe. These advancements have resulted in improvements that include reducing redundant outpatient test orders, decreasing the time needed from admissions to the first drug administration, and bringing down the number of adverse drug events and medication errors; lowering hospital costs; increasing the frequency of discussions about advanced care directives; and facilitating collaborative patient management. Through the Wishard-Regenstrief partnership, Wishard was one of the first hospitals in the world to develop and utilize electronic medical records, and was also the first to deploy that technology to patients in the field via ambulances.

"As a Regenstrief Institute investigator, Paul has bridged Regenstrief's world-renowned Biomedical Informatics Center and Wishard's clinical services, allowing Wishard to provide high quality patient care at low cost. For example, the partnership has enhanced quality through the development of an automatic system that reminds physicians about ordering flu shots for hospitalized patients, which has increased the administration of the vaccination by more than 50 percent," Dr. Tierney said. "The partnership has also significantly helped in controlling expenses at Wishard, with pharmacy costs decreasing 11 percent from 2005 to 2009 while other hospitals have been seeing their drug costs rise."

The Wishard-Regenstrief partnership has been cited as a national model and in 2010 received the President's Award for Health Reform Readiness and Leadership from the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems. The partnership has generated more than 300 peer-reviewed research papers focusing on the effect of physicians interacting with computers to enhance medical care, one of the largest contributions to the world's collection of academic literature on this subject.

Dr. Dexter supervises the programmers responsible for the Regenstrief Medical Record System and the Gopher Order Entry System. He focuses his research on the development and evaluation of computer technologies and their effects on physician responses, and he has conducted multiple trials related to computerized clinical reminder systems.

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Wishard Health Services

For more than 150 years, Wishard Health Services has provided high quality, cost-effective, patient-centered health care to the residents of Marion County. Accredited by The Joint Commission, nationally recognized programs include a level I trauma center, regional burn center, comprehensive senior care program, women's and children's services, teen and adolescent care programs, Midtown Community Mental Health Center, and a network of primary care sites located throughout the neigh­borhoods of Indianapolis. In partnership with the Regenstrief Institute, Wishard conducts groundbreaking work that leads health information technology around the globe. Wishard also serves as the sponsoring hospital for Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services. As the public hospital division of the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Wishard partners with the Indiana University School of Medicine whose physicians provide a comprehensive range of primary and specialty care services. Marion County voters approved construction of a new Wishard hospital with 85 percent support for the measure. Wishard received a $40 million gift from Indianapolis's Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, in honor of whom Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County will name the new hospital and health system once the new facility is complete in December 2013.

Regenstrief Institute, Inc.

An internationally respected informatics and healthcare research organization, the Regenstrief Institute is recognized for its role in improving quality of care, increasing efficiency of healthcare delivery, preventing medical errors and enhancing patient safety. Established in 1969 the Institute is closely associated with the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County.

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