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Health care equity focus of tech design challenge

Apr. 15, 2021, 8:47 AM


by Paul Govern

A proposal titled “Capture of Smoking History in EHR for Assessment of Lung Cancer Screening Eligibility” has won the inaugural VCLIC Design Challenge, sponsored by the Vanderbilt Clinical Informatics Center (VCLIC).

Each academic year, VCLIC chooses a focus, this year’s being “Making health care more equitable through technology.” The center’s inaugural design challenge sought to stimulate creative solutions on this theme.

Six participating teams presented their proposals and winners were announced April 7 at the weekly Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI) Seminar.

“With a goal of seeing these innovative proposals to fruition, we’ll be connecting the winners and the other participating teams with VCLIC, DBMI and HealthIT resources,” said Adam Wright, PhD, professor of Biomedical Informatics and director of VCLIC.

A blanket invitation went out to students, clinicians, faculty and staff from across the institution, with or without technical experience, to form teams and submit proposals in the form of plans or interactive information technology prototypes. Mentors from VCLIC assisted teams with project design.

With Black people tending to develop lung cancer somewhat earlier than other racial groups, first place in the design challenge went to technical solutions to ensure that each patient’s smoking history is documented, and appropriate lung cancer screenings are completed. The team behind this proposal included Melinda Aldrich, PhD, MPH, Kim Sandler, MD, Melissa McPheeters, MD, MPH, Jennifer Richmond, PhD, MSPH, Jeffrey Blume, PhD, and Travis Osterman, DO, MS.

The judging panel included Robert Miller, MD, holder of the Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair in Medicine, Andre Churchwell, MD, VUMC Chief Diversity Officer and Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion for Vanderbilt University, and Neal Patel, MD, MPH, professor of Clinical Pediatrics and chief informatics officer for HealthIT.

Teams behind the top three proposals took home gift certificates and a glowing light bulb trophy.

Taking second place was “Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Interventions to Maintain and Promote Adherence to Cancer Therapies (IMPACT),” from Evan Osmundson, MD, PhD, Ryan Whitaker, MD, PhD, and Brian Bingham, MD.

Third place went to “Food Insecurity Resource Connection,” from Cristin Fritz, MD, MPH, Holly Hanson, MD, MS, Lauren Sanlorenzo, MD, Hannah Smith, MD, Sophia Kostelanetz, MD, MPH, Britta Roach, DO, Rosemary Hunder, MD, Shani Jones, MD, and Mia Letterie. This proposal took the People’s Choice Award in online voting at the April 7 seminar.

Other proposals included “Using Technology to Reduce Inequity in Discharge Medication Counseling for Hospitalized Children,” “Bridging the Digital Divide: Addressing Inequality in Access to Telehealth,” and “Patient Reported Outcome Intake for Self-care, Cognitive and Functional Decline.”

For more information, view the video of the April 7 seminar via a link from the DBMI events webpage (Vanderbilt login and multi-factor authentication required).

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