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A health IT leader for more than three decades, Ed Kopetsky—chief information officer of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health—has received the 2018 John E. Gall Jr. CIO of the Year award.

Kopetsky was honored on Monday at the 2019 CHIME/HIMSS CIO Forum in Orlando. The John E. Gall Jr. award, selected jointly by the boards of CHIME and HIMSS, is given annually to a CIO who has shown significant leadership and commitment to the healthcare industry during their career.

Since joining Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford Children’s Health as CIO in 2009, Kopetsky has successfully led several large-scale IT projects.

Under his leadership, Stanford Children’s received the HIMSS Stage 7 Acute Care and Ambulatory Awards, Most Wired recognition from 2015 to the present, honors for having one of the best healthcare IT departments in 2016, and the HIMSS Davies Award in 2017 for improving patient outcomes and care processes using health IT and analytics.

“In the last 10 years, we’ve really advanced integration of medical records and all that data is what we’re mining,” says Kopetsky. “The HIMSS Davies Award that we earned in 2017 was clearly the highlight of my career. That’s an international award and to be able to do that just three years after our go-live speaks volumes about our physicians and clinical informatics group and also speaks so highly of Stanford Children’s.”

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Stanford Children’s went live in the summer of 2014 with its Epic electronic health record, and a year later, the organization was awarded HIMSS Stage 7 Acute Care and Ambulatory Awards.

“That was almost unheard of,” comments Kopetsky. “We compressed a two-year implementation into four months in the summer of 2014.”

At the same time, he emphasizes that it’s not about winning awards. “Our whole mission at Stanford Children’s is to first of all save lives and secondly develop the science to improve medicine for children’s healthcare worldwide,” adds Kopetsky. “It’s a unique place and we’ve been given a unique opportunity here. It’s a great gift to be their CIO.”

Before joining Stanford Children’s in 2009, he worked as a partner at the professional services organization Healthlink, which was acquired by IBM in 2005. Prior to that, Kopetsky served as senior vice president and CIO of Centura Health from 1996 to 2000 and CIO of Sharp HealthCare from 1986 to 1996.

He has been an active member of HIMSS since 1987 and was a founding member of CHIME in 1992, which has led to successive leadership roles in the organization including board member (1996-1999) CHIME chair (1998) and CHIME Foundation Board member (2002-2005).

Last year, Kopetsky helped to launch the CHIME Opioid Task Force, which he co-chairs, after losing his son to an accidental opioid overdose in late 2017. The task force seeks to leverage the knowledge and expertise of CHIME’s membership to find and share IT-based solutions that address the opioid crisis.

“We had a family tragedy and we were talking after the service and I said I hope some good can come from it,” recounts Kopetsky. “In one year, we’ve made significant strides in influencing legislation and sharing best practices of leading health systems who are significantly reducing inappropriate use of opioids.”

“Ed is one of the most courageous people I know,” said Russell Branzell, president and CEO of CHIME. “Ed has turned a personal tragedy into a mission for CHIME and our members that already is saving lives. He has a vision of what can be achieved when healthcare IT leaders work together, and with his leadership we are making inroads against this devastating opioid epidemic.”


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