Intermountain Healthcare is taking another leap forward in medical informatics as it opens and develops a new center to support its clinical information systems. The Intermountain Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research officially opened with a ribbon cutting on February 16, on the second floor of the South Office Building on the campus of Intermountain Medical Center.
Named after Homer R. Warner, MD, PhD, the center honors one of the industry’s recognized fathers of clinical computer systems.
“With the growing emphasis in and the importance of medical informatics we will continue to grow in this area with employees and their research,” said Marc Probst, Intermountain’s chief information officer.
“The collaborative work that will happen in this center will accelerate the rate of change in developing information system tools to help doctors and nurses better care for patients.”
Intermountain’s advanced information systems help caregivers improve medical delivery and outcomes. For example, these systems automate routine functions, facilitate communication among caregivers, support decision-making processes, and allow statistical analysis to help improve care processes and implement best medical practices.
“Thanks to the hard work and vision of Dr. Homer Warner and his colleagues, Intermountain has an outstanding legacy on which to build all of its future information systems,” Probst said.
Intermountain has been an industry leader in using computers in the practice of medicine for several decades. Beginning in the mid-1950s, Dr. Warner began his work using computers for decision support in cardiology at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. His groundbreaking work set the stage for the growth of the new field of academic study called medical informatics.
In the 1970s, Dr. Warner and his Intermountain colleagues created one of the nation’s first versions of an electronic medical record. Designed to assist clinicians in decision-making, Intermountain’s now famous HELP system has been operational for nearly 40 years. Dr. Homer is emeritus chair of the University of Utah’s Department of Medical Informatics.
“Dr. Warner identified the field and then defined that field,” said Brent James, MD, Intermountain’s chief quality officer. “It’s hard to describe that contribution, not just to Intermountain, not just to the medical profession, but to the patients that we serve. Frankly, building on Homer’s foundation, we’re now on the cusp of a massive transformation of care delivery.”
The work that Dr. Warner and his team pioneered with the HELP system continues to play an important role in the design and implementation of all of Intermountain’s clinical information systems. Along with HELP and HELP2, Intermountain continues its current project with GE Healthcare to develop and implement the next generation clinical information system. Informaticists from the Homer Warner Center consult on the GE Healthcare project along with many other applicable projects within Intermountain Healthcare and the medical informatics community.
Intermountain’s Homer Warmer Center for Informatics Research will centralize 60 full-time healthcare IT positions, many of which are new positions. Within the next 10 years, Intermountain expects to need more than 100 informatics specialists.