Q&A with AMDIS Award winner Peter Basch

Recently, the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) held its annual awards to recognize the leaders in healthcare IT. Among those recipients was Peter Basch, MD, MACP, Senior Director for IT Quality and Safety, Research, and National Health IT Policy at MedStar Health.

In an exclusive interview with Clinical Innovation & Technology, Basch talks about his work, the award and what he plans on doing next.

Clinical Innovation & Technology: Congratulations on your recent acceptance of your AMDIS 2016 award, how did it feel having your work recognized?

Peter Basch: Terrific, I have to say I was genuinely surprised! I almost didn’t make it to the award ceremony, but it’s a great group that I love so I attended. I didn’t realize I had won an award until I opened the pamphlet and saw my name. It’s truly an honor to be chosen out of such a great group of competitors.

Tell us a little bit more about your work that lead to your award.

I’d say I’m one of those subsets in medical informatics that is less technologically oriented and more policy driven, as well as having a focus on practical implementation. Over the past five years, we have tried not to demonize the laws and policies, but instead focus on what we can do to work together to optimize the opportunity to our patients. I try to unravel the technological jargon into “what are we trying to solve?”, “what policies are there?” and “what barriers are impeding our progress?” We push to look both behind and forward making sure we are on the right path to progression. I try to urge others to not be distracted by today’s technology and focus on thinking “how is that being used to help our patients?" Navigating the fine line of clinical care, judgement and awareness of IT and by stopping and saying “is this helping patients or is it just the next big craze?"

How will winning this award affect your work?

I am deeply humbled and grateful for the award. It was very nice to be recognized. When I came back, the response from my executives was “this is a big deal, Peter." The award showed me that I'm doing what needs to be done. It tells me to keep moving in this direction. We are getting closer to more meaningful use of health IT than ever before, with more physicians and patients becoming health IT literate and influencing policy at a national level. Let’s accentuate the positives and focus on the opportunity.

Is there anything you'd like to share with our readers? 

I think what I do is important were I am always happy to see others participate. This is a career path I encourage young people to follow. Remember that even though the work is hard, there are moments of thanks and I very much appreciate the award from AMDIS. I’m most thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the work and we are still marching to do the work ahead.