UMMS STUDENT RECEIVES MASS MEDICAL SOCIETY TECHNOLOGY AWARD
Ciarán DellaFera was among multiple UMMS students and faculty recognized
May 13, 2010
| Ciarán A. DellaFera at Good Samaritan Hospital|
Second-year School of Medicine student Ciarán A. DellaFera received one of many awards recently given to University of Massachusetts Medical School students and faculty by the Massachusetts Medical Society. DellaFera won the 2010 Information Technology Award for successfully creating and implementing an innovative teleradiology and image storage system for Hospital General El Buen Samaritano (Good Samaritan) in La Romana, Dominican Republic.
Fourth-year students Stephanie Galica and Hannah Melnitsky were named 2010 Massachusetts Medical Society Scholars. Michael P. Hirsh, MD, received the 2010 Henry Ingersoll Bowditch Award for Excellence in Public Health; John Riordan, MD, received the 2010 Senior Volunteer Physician Award; and Oscar E. Starobin, MD, received the 2010 Grant V. Rodkey Award. James B. Broadhurst, MD, was named 2010 Community Clinician of the Year by his physician peers of the Worcester District Medical Society, one of 20 MMS districts. In addition, MMS elected Lynda M. Young, MD, president-elect and Richard V. Aghababian, MD, vice President. [See related story
DellaFera spent a summer at Good Samaritan as part of the medical school's Multicultural and Under-served Populations Pathway, a program of international electives that add a global dimension to medical education and provide students with the opportunity to develop the linguistic and cultural competence critical to serving a rapidly expanding immigrant and refugee population in Massachusetts and the United States.
The 30-bed Good Samaritan, which annually serves 30,000 patients, had received a generous gift of a CT scanner, but an inadequate infrastructure severely limited its usefulness. In addition to power problems and an outdated data storage system that used costly and difficult-to-find media, viewing patients’ images required an optical media drive—and the only station for viewing CT images was the scanner console itself, requiring the machine to be out of service for log periods of time, creating long backlogs of patients to be scanned.
Formerly an IBM Distinguished Engineer, a member of the IBM Academy of Technology and IBM's Chief Technology Officer for Health Care & Industry Software Standards, DellaFera had also moonlighted as an emergency room technician at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, where he learned the nuances of medical imaging and medical records systems. Combining his direct technological skills and his hospital experience—and leveraging the generosity of corporate contacts from his engineering days—DellaFera quickly identified the problems plaguing Good Samaritan's radiology program and designed, created and implemented an efficient information system that will allow the hospital to centralize and archive not only CT scans, but also images from its X-ray, mammography and ultrasound services. The project cost less than $5,000 and was completed within six weeks.
To DellaFera, the project was exciting and satisfying. “Good Samaritan faced several challenges, but I felt perfectly positioned to help. By combining inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware, freeware and shareware—along with a bit of brainstorming with the hospital’s facilities director—I was able to help Good Samaritan create a better way to care for its patients.”
Presented annually by the state medical society to one medical student and one resident, fellow, or intern, the Information Technology Award recognizes the development of an information technology tool that helps physicians practice medicine, teach medicine, or pursue clinical research. The honor, which carries a $2,500 award, was presented at the Society’s Annual Meeting on May 13.
DellaFera hopes to build on this experience locally and has already begun work to implement an electronic medical records system for the Worcester Free Clinic Coalition, a system of free clinics in which UMass Medical School students are involved.