Bill W. Childs is a 40-year member of HIMSS and is a recipient of the HIMSS’ 50 in 50 Award, which recognizes the memorable achievements to the field or body of knowledge of healthcare information technology and management systems. He received this award at the 2011 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition in Orlando on Feb. 22.
Ten individuals were recognized for each of the five decades since the founding of the organization in 1961. Eligibility for the award looked at accomplishments during the particular decade of consideration for the candidate. Professional accomplishments, contributions to the body of professional knowledge, thought and organizational leadership, as well as HIMSS membership, were also considered during the recipient election process.
Nominations opened in November 2010, and recipients were selected by the former HIMSS Boards of Directors.
In 1980, Bill Childs introduced the first journal dedicated to the fields of health IT: Computers in Healthcare. He founded two subsequent publications: Health Management Technology and Healthcare Informatics. The introduction of a publication dedicated to health IT helped establish the importance of individuals who focused on IT-related issues in healthcare. The journal also helped legitimize the director of data processing position and advance chief information officers in healthcare. Childs was also one of the early pioneers at El Camino Hospital in California and in the informatics field. He was a co-founder of the first Clinical Information Systems Company at Lockheed in the late 1960s, later known as TDS and E7000. Childs attended his first Annual HIMSS Conference in 1968, and in 43 years, he has not missed one since. He is currently the vice president of national sales and ambassador for Vitalize Consulting Solutions, Inc., Kennett Square, Penn.
HIMSS: How did you become involved in HIMSS?
Childs: I became involved with HIMSS as a vendor in the late 1960s and early 1970s (I was employed with Lockheed and then Technicon Data Systems (TDS.) when I demonstrated the medical information system (MIS) we were building and installing at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif.
HIMSS: What was the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Childs: It was very rewarding to be on a team and to have been involved in the development of the first clinical information system. It was also wonderful to have launched the first magazine, Computers in Hospitals, to champion healthcare information systems.
HIMSS: What are some of the most notable changes you’ve seen in the field of health IT?
Childs: Notable changes include the shift of information systems from being a low priority to becoming a critical factor for documentation, communication, control and security for all hospital and clinic information.
HIMSS: What advice would you give professionals just entering the healthcare or IT field?
Childs: I believe that physicians must have everything they need to know when they need to know it and where ever they are when they need it. Also, whatever device and systems they have at hand must operate at ‘think speed’” The field of healthcare information systems or healthcare informatics is just over 40 years old; however, there is much that still needs to be accomplished. Working in this field provides young professionals with the opportunity to make a difference and be involved in change that will improve the quality of patient care.