Blue Cross clinical leaders recognized for improving digital healthcare

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Two of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s clinical staff members were recently honored with awards from the Louisiana Chapter of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (LaHIMSS).

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Vindell Washington received the 2018 LaHIMSS Public Servant of the Year award. Bryan Taylor, Blue Cross’ telehealth and eHealth operations manager, was honored as 2018 LaHIMSS Clinician of the Year.

Washington, who joined Blue Cross in June 2017 after serving as National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, was selected for his public work to advance health information technology.

Washington, an emergency medicine physician, has spent his career driving greater adoption of electronic health records and digital tools for easier data flow among patients, healthcare providers and insurers. In late 2017, Washington co-authored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine and was featured as an alumni profile in Harvard School of Public Health’s magazine for his work in this area.

Since coming to Blue Cross, Washington has continued to champion data sharing to boost health outcomes and empower patients. For example, he has oversight of the Quality Blue program, in which Blue Cross makes claims data available securely to primary care providers so they can know more about their patients’ health histories. Sharing information digitally lets Blue Cross and the Quality Blue doctors work together to close gaps in care, such as reminding patients about important screenings, tests or shots they should have.

Washington is also leading work within Blue Cross’ clinical division that uses data insights to connect eligible members with Care Management staff who can support them through serious illnesses or chronic conditions and help them stick to their treatment plans.

Taylor is the program manager for BlueCare, Blue Cross’ service that lets members have 24/7 online doctor visits. BlueCare is a benefit for most members, who can see a doctor online using a computer, laptop, smartphone, tablet or any device with internet and a camera.

BlueCare expands access to care, particularly after hours, and can be effective for treating non-emergency, minor illnesses like colds, allergies, bladder infections, sinus trouble, mild stomach bugs or rashes.

Taylor, a nurse practitioner who was in full-time clinical practice before joining Blue Cross, was selected for his work to spread the use of telehealth services like BlueCare in Louisiana. LaHIMSS also recognized Taylor for being an active volunteer with the chapter.

In addition to the Blue Cross award recipients, LaHIMMS recognized Postlethwaite & Netterville as 2018 LaHIMSS Champion, and Jeff Robbins as 2018 LaHIMSS Member of the Year.

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information and technology. HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.

Contributed by BCBSLA