December 2, 2021

As digital technologies increasingly drive the quality of healthcare, leaders behind the scenes are making crucial improvements in technology that help save lives. Led by Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Curtright and Chief Information Officer Bryan Bliven, University of Missouri Health Care’s IT team designed digital health care tools to help prevent patients from dying of sepsis, reduce the risk of unnecessary blood transfusions and improve patient screening. For these outstanding achievements in digital health, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) has named Curtright and Bliven as the winners of the 2021 CHIME-AHA Transformational Leadership Award. MU Health Care leaders including Bliven also received this honor in 2016.

“Bryan and Jonathan worked together to identify the pressure points where new applications of technology can make a dramatic difference in patient health,” said CHIME Board Chair John Kravitz, Corporate CIO at Geisinger Health. “The MU Health Care team’s impressive achievements under their leadership represent the best of digital transformation, improving the lives of patients and measurably preventing them from harm. We are proud to honor their leadership and vision with this award.”

 The MU Health Care team used a national early warning score (NEWS) algorithm to develop a proactive intervention to reduce sepsis-related mortality rates. Using NEWS for a more rapid response, staff reduced the sepsis mortality index by 22%, avoiding an estimated 12 sepsis-related deaths in the first nine months after implementation.

Unnecessary blood transfusions can expose patients to increased morbidity and mortality as well as lengthen their hospital stays. By implementing Clinical Decisions Support (CDS) alerts for red blood cell (RBC) transfusion, MU Health Care reduced overall RBC transfusion rate by 13.34% and contributed to a 10% reduction in the mortality rate of transfused patients.

Bliven and the IT team drove significant gains in risk screening accuracy by redesigning the electronic health record (EHR) to improve screening in key risk areas. Patients benefitted from more accurate provider knowledge of advance directives and better identification of those at risk of injury from falls. Screening for depression and substance misuse also showed dramatic improvements.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Bryan on our team and directing the Tiger Institute for Health Innovation, MU’s private-public partnership with Cerner Corporation,” Curtright said. “I’m proud of our collaborative teams who addressed these key quality initiatives by combining clinical practice, hands-on experience and technology to improve outcomes to help our patients live healthier lives.”

“Thank you to CHIME – AHA for the honor of the Transformational Leadership Award,” Bliven said. “The award represents the great collaboration between clinicians and informaticists focused on sustained improvements in patient care at MU Health Care. It is my great pleasure to work with them toward our mission of saving and improving lives!”

The CHIME-AHA Transformational Leadership Award is given in honor of a CEO and CIO whose organization developed and deployed transformational IT that improved the delivery of care and streamlined administrative services.