Even before finding her calling as an innovator in the healthcare IT space, Linda Peitzman, MD, loved solving problems. Now Chief Medical Informatics Officer (CMIO) at HealthMyne, Dr. Peitzman started her clinical career as a family practice, emergency room, and urgent care physician, and even in those early days was intent on finding a better way to support clinical decision-making. Over a 25-year career, her track record is punctuated by successes on the cutting-edge of care and healthcare informatics.
“The hardest thing we have to do in the informatics space is to empower clinicians to use technology fully, to actually change and improve what they’re doing through full, integrated functionality rather than just repeating the old ways digitally,” Dr. Peitzman says.
End Game: Better Quality of Care
“There is so much potential to improve the quality of care by using technology to add value, to automate processes, and to take care of manual tasks that do not need a physician’s expertise.” Dr. Peitzman continues. “So many times, though, clinicians need help and tools but don’t always know what to ask for in terms of technology. That is what I have spent my career doing, and it is the problem we’re solving at HealthMyne. We’ve taken Quantitative Imaging Decision Support (QIDS)™ beyond research and developed a tool for radiologists to make their work easier, to measure more than what the eye can see, and, to automate many things we’ve had to do manually in the past.”
Dr. Peitzman says her primary focus for the next 6 – 18 months is on prioritizing where to go next with HealthMyne’s QIDS tool. “We have an incredible team of people, and many customers excited about new areas of development. There are so many things we could do to expand the QIDS tool within and beyond oncology, in areas like neuroscience (MS, Parkinson’s), radiomics to improve virtual biopsy and directed biopsy, surgical support, calcium scoring, and many other areas of development.,” she says. “At the core, it’s clear to me that what we do well is extract quantitative metrics from volumetric images, provide a tool to help radiologists get their work done fast, and use this data to automate processes, provide clinical decision support, and improve quality of care.”
Progressive Career Path
Quality care has been the core priority for Dr. Peitzman from the beginning. Following graduation from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completion of her residency, Dr. Peitzman opened her own family practice with a colleague. That practice became successful and was acquired by a large multi-specialty hospital and clinic, Park Nicollet/Health System Minnesota. Dr. Peitzman joined Park Nicollet as a practicing physician and soon was elected as a Department Chair and then to the Executive Management and Governance Committees.
“Throughout my career, whenever I make a change I miss a bit of what I did before, but not as much as I like the new challenge,” Dr. Peitzman says. “When I was a physician and I would hear a phone ringing at the office or hospital and no one was answering, I’d pick it up and try to help the person on the other end. I love problem solving, and that was my first entry into the IT space –one of the first projects I tackled was to develop new processes and software systems to document and triage patients calling for care.”
And manage it she did. Dr. Peitzman became the Medical Director for Park Nicollet’s phone triage/phone care systems and developed software and clinical guidelines to manage access to care across the 31 clinics and hospital system. She then became Associate Medical Director, working in a CMIO role to evaluate vendors, develop internal EMR and other clinical systems to improve access to care, manage clinical guidelines/clinical decision support (CDS), and to modify and implement HIT systems for physician use across the system.
“I like identifying core problems and working to solve them. Very often in clinical situations in healthcare, there isn’t someone who understands both the details of process, and the potential IT solutions – so core problems go unidentified and we do things the same old ways,” she explains. “I have a need to solve the problems I come across as I move from one challenge to the next.”
Integration, Evolution, Intrigue
From Park Nicollet, Dr. Peitzman moved on to a new challenge at ProVation Medical, where she formed and led a clinical informatics team to build structured documentation and coding software across multiple specialties, and drive EMR and other platform integrations. She served as Chief Medical Officer, helping to drive strategy, product development, and growth; and working in teamwork for the first time with CEO Arvind Subramanian, who is now HealthMyne’s CEO. Together, Peitzman and Subramanian were in the executive team that led ProVation’s to significant double-digit growth during their tenure.
When ProVation was acquired by Wolters Kluwer Health in January 2006, Dr. Peitzman became Chief Medical Officer for Wolters Kluwer Health, and CMIO for the organization’s Clinical Solutions group of Clinical Decision Support (CDS) products. She served as part of the executive and strategy teams led by Subramanian as Clinical Solutions scaled from $70M to $540M through 2015 and was recognized with numerous awards for innovation and value to the customer.
“Arvind began evaluating new opportunities and asked me to review some background on the technology HealthMyne was developing because he was thinking about joining them,” Dr. Peitzman says. “Both of us ended up becoming very interested in what they were doing. He joined HealthMyne and asked me to join him to bring the HealthMyne solution out of the research realm and into the clinical decision support, point-of care space. There were significant areas where the product and concept could be expanded to solve problems for physicians and healthcare organizations.”
At HealthMyne where she leads product strategy and development, Dr. Peitzman is continuing her quest to solve the problems no one else has tackled yet. “I work with a team of very smart, capable people that are innovating in new ways within imaging. Together we are focused on continuing to rapidly evolve the product into an ever-more-functional clinical workflow platform that provides decision support to clinicians, automates manual processes, and improves patient care. I’m using my core strengths and experience to add value to the product, and to clinicians that use the product.”
Dr. Peitzman sees the kind of change that HealthMyne is driving as a major trend in healthcare.
“What we’re doing is increasing the value that radiologists can provide to the care team while also providing a tool to help them get their work done well. That will be even more necessary as we move toward value-based care,” she says, “and it’s applicable not just in cancer care, but in anything imaging touches.”
Referencing the healthcare industry’s ongoing need to provide better care with fewer resources, Dr. Peitzman believes improved data and automation will be key. As the body of healthcare knowledge grows, she says clinicians are being asked to process more and more information. “The amount of effort for just one patient is continuing to increase in radiology – a patient used to have an x-ray that had 2-5 views, and now an MRI can have 3,000 slices to review. New studies, and increased frequency of studies put more and more pressure on radiologists. We have to be able to automate for efficiency and productivity. The HealthMyne QIDS platform does this, and we need to continue to expand its value for additional uses.”
Together with the HealthMyne team, Dr. Peitzman is up for the challenge.