Meet Our Member: Daniel Griffin, MD

Alpenglow Medical

Dr. Daniel Griffin was the founder of Alpenglow Medical in Fort Collins, Colo., and the winner of the 2006 Davies Award of Excellence in Ambulatory Care. He trained as an internist and is currently at the North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in Manhasset, N.Y. Dr. Griffin is an Elmezzi Scholar at the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine and is doing immunology research in the Department of Oncology and Cell Biology at the Feinstein Institute. Dr. Griffin is also a teaching attending for the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the indigent clinic that served as the beta site for the roll out of the largest ambulatory electronic health records (EHR) implementation to date. Dr. Griffin is nationally recognized for his EHR expertise, speaking for CMS’s first Transformational Grand Rounds and speaking at regional conferences in Washington, DC. Dr. Griffin is the current chair of the Davies Ambulatory Care Award Selection Committee.

HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?

Griffin: I became involved with HIMSS in 2005, while I was a primary care physician in northeastern Colorado. I started an internal medicine solo practice in a Medicare shortage area. In 2004, I was contacted by Medicare (CMS) because they noticed our practice had scored in the top 1 percent for all their newly introduced metrics for quality of care. After explaining this success was due to our implementation of computerized systems, it was Medicare that suggested we investigate HIMSS and their Davies Awards. From that point, I have been involved with HIMSS.

HIMSS: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Griffin: I currently am at the NSLIJ Health System in Manhasset, N.Y., where the largest ambulatory EHR implementation in history is currently underway with $400 million already invested. I spend most of my time doing research, but one day a week I work as a teaching attending in the indigent clinic that served as the beta site for the EHR roll out.  The most rewarding aspect of my current job is knowing that in addition to the difference I make teaching the young physicians of tomorrow while taking care of patients, I am pushing forward the science that will assist with the development of new therapies to reach the bedside.

HIMSS: What has been your greatest achievement as a Davies Ambulatory Care Award Winner?

Griffin: Since winning the Davies Award I have had the opportunity to transition from a private practice to an academic institution. This transition allowed me to become involved with a high risk project, in an effort to define a cell type for which senior investigators at multiple institutions had searched for almost three decades. In January of this year, our success in finding this cell and showing how it could be recognized made the cover of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. This accomplishment led to me receiving the Young Scientist of the Year Award.

HIMSS: What has your greatest accomplishment been as a Young Scientist of the Year Award Recipient?

Griffin: When I applied for the Davies Award in 2005, I was describing a successful implementation of EHRs when the field was still very young. I decided to try to create an efficient computerized office when no private lab had ever even been able to receive lab results electronically. In addition to being the first private clinic in the country to receive lab results electronically downloaded directly into a patient's chart, we had to try to adapt systems designed for the recording of data into ones that helped us improve the care we were recording. This was long before the terms “pay for performance” or “meaningful use” were coined.

HIMSS: What are some of the most notable changes you've seen in the field of health IT over the course of your career?

Griffin: The most notable change I have seen in health IT is the transition from systems that store data to systems that are focused on recording and improving quality of care. This shift of focus for health IT has elevated this field to one where all those participating can feel energized by the knowledge that their efforts are impacting patients and their health. For all those just entering health IT, this is about an exciting as time in as exciting a field as one could hope for.