UF Health IT named to InformationWeek’s top business innovators of 2013, Health Care’s Most Wired

University of Florida Health has earned kudos from two national organizations for leading efforts to integrate technology with patient care.

UF Health Information Technology has been named one of InformationWeek’s top 500 business innovators of 2013 thanks to the development of a program that alerts physicians about patients whose genetics makes them a poor candidate for certain drugs. In addition, UF Health Shands Hospital has been named to Hospitals & Health Networks’ list of Health Care’s Most Wired Hospitals for 2013.

In InformationWeek, UF Health ranked No. 22 on a list of the 500 most innovative companies. The list includes Gap Inc., ConocoPhillips, Penske Truck Leasing Co., John Deere, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and other large corporations from all industries.

“This is a perfect example of a team quickly taking a great research project through clinical research, applying it to clinical medicine — from bench to bedside — and using it to directly improve patient care,” said Kari Cassel, senior vice president and chief information officer for information technology at UF Health.

The “bench” represents a previous discovery of a genetic marker that, when present in a patient, means that an antiplatelet medicine called clopidogrel is not an effective drug for treating that patient, said Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D, a distinguished professor and dean of the UF College of Pharmacy. The next step of moving this research data to the “bedside” of patient care was spearheaded by Johnson, who directs the UF Health Personalized Medicine Program, a part of the UF Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

In the UF program, of 1,000 patients tested, 28 percent of them were identified as having this genetic marker. The UF researchers wanted to ensure that physicians were made aware of the genetic marker in their patients for whom clopidogrel would be ineffective. To make this happen, information technology teams worked with the UF Health Pathology Laboratories, where the genetic tests are performed, and with the members of the Personalized Medicine Program team to create a program that immediately alerts physicians or pharmacists when they order clopidogrel for a patient with this particular genetic profile.

“The alert eliminates the need to read and understand complex genetic reports and ensures that pertinent information easily gets to the clinicians treating our patients,” Cassel said.

The team plans to create genetic lab results and alerts for other drugs as they are identified through the Personalized Medicine Program.

Cassel said that while it’s great to receive InformationWeek’s commendation for innovation, the Most Wired designation is reflective of the comprehensive health information technology systems used at UF Health Shands Hospital.

“Most Wired considers every system we have and how well we use them,” Cassel said. “The award tells us that we are implementing information systems to safely take care of our patients and that our faculty and staff are using those systems effectively.”