United States Department of Veterans Affairs
 Health Care
VA Employee Recognized for Excellence in Leadership, Innovation

Protecting patient health records drives much of Information technology (IT) in the health care industry. Sharing patient data is often made difficult by the security issues surrounding computer systems, which are designed to prevent intrusion or unintentional sharing. Adding to the complexity are the internal forms that are different for every insurance company and health care system. So when Timothy Cromwell pioneered a new and secure system for sharing Veterans health care records in January, it was big news across the health care industry.

Department of Veterans Affairs employee Timothy Cromwell, RN, PhD, has been selected as a winner of the 2010 Chief Information Officers Council Leadership Award for his work in the important field of electronic health information exchange.

Dr. Tim Cromwell
Dr. Tim Cromwell
He and two other CIO leadership award winners were recognized for their efforts during a ceremony at the Interagency Resources Management Conference in April.

Cromwell led a multidisciplinary, cross-departmental team of technical, clinical, legal, and other subject matter experts who, in January, made history when they partnered with Kaiser Permanente to securely share Electronic Health Records. The project demonstrated that clinicians from separate health care organizations can work together to transform the way health care is delivered.

The prestigious 2010 CIO Council Leadership Award recognizes Cromwell for his innovative spirit, use of measurable outcomes, use of information technology, willingness to transform IT processes, and for his ability to transcend federal agency boundaries.

“The progress we’ve made so far is the result of a lot of hard work and collaboration by more than a hundred very bright and committed people,” Cromwell observed. “I am honored to receive the individual award, but want to make it very clear that I accept it on behalf of all the federal and contract staff who have sacrificed to get us to this point. I’m humbled and fortunate to work with so many fine colleagues in support of our nation’s Veterans.”

Craig Luigart, chief officer for VHA’s Office of Health Information, described the CIO Council Leadership Award as an honor to VA and its employees. “This recognition serves as a great example,” he said, “of how VA leaders like Dr. Cromwell are creating information technology solutions that enhance Veterans’ health, as well as their access to quality care throughout our system.”

Cromwell, who serves as director of Standards and Interoperability within VA’s Veterans Health Administration, continues to spearhead health data exchange pilots.