3 Big Island residents serving on Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange board
The Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of patient care through the secure exchange of health information between providers, has three Big Island residents on its board of directors.
The board recently re-elected Money Atwal as a board officer, welcomed Dr. Lynda Dolan as a new board member and Julie-Beth “JB” Ako is continuing their board service.
“It’s important to have diverse perspectives representing the interests of Hawai‘i Island on our board,” said Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange CEO Francis Chan. “Health care has evolved over the past 15 years. Enabling providers to seamlessly and securely access and share patient health information is so critical for Hawai‘i Island and the other islands to make informed treatment decisions.”
Atwal, chief financial officer and chief information officer of The Queen’s Health Systems’ North Hawai‘i Community Hospital in Waimea and Molokaʻi General Hospital, was re-elected treasurer.
Atwal has a broad range of health care information technology and leadership experience. He has served in the roles of chief financial officer and chief information officer for various health systems and led the implementation of multiple electronic health record systems that garnered national awards and recognition.
“We can improve the quality of care and increase efficiency while reducing health care costs through the effective use of electronic health records and electronic exchange of clinical data,” Atwal said. “The Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange enables providers using different electronic health record systems to seamlessly share data with each other. We are making progress as a state, but we have not yet realized our fullest potential.”
Dolan, who has been providing care in East Hawai‘i for more than 25 years, was unanimously approved as a new board member.
She is currently in private practice at The Family Medicine Center in Hilo and serves as medical director with Hawai‘i Care Choices. Dolan is also an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, serving as a preceptor for medical students and residents.
She is board president of the East Hawai‘i Independent Physician Association/Big Island Docs and serves as a board member of the Queen’s Clinically Integrated Physician Network. Dolan served at Hilo Medical Center in various leadership roles from 2001-21, including as chief of staff.
“As a practicing physician, I know firsthand the value of health IT and electronic medical records. Would I go back to paper charts? No way!” Dolan said. “The health integration using technology needs to continue to move forward so that we can gain a comprehensive view of the health of our patients here on the Big Island and statewide so that we can continue to make improvements and better serve our patients.”
Ako, who has worked in the health care industry for the past 25 years and chief financial officer of Clinical Labs of Hawai‘i since August 2019, is continuing to serve on the Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange board.
She joined the board in June 2022. Ako also served as Clinical Labs’ vice president of operations, responsible for the company’s laboratories at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, Straub Medical Center and Pali Momi Medical Center on O‘ahu, as well as the company’s mini-lab and billing department in Hilo.
Her previous health care leadership experience includes serving as hospital systems services director for Hawai‘i Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawai‘i Region at Hilo Medical Center and director of clinical operations for Kaua‘i Medical Clinic that was, at the time, a 60-plus physician outpatient group practice with seven satellite clinics around Kaua‘i.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to serve on the [Hawai‘i Health Information Exchange] board because from my vantage point, it’s imperative that we integrate multiple sources of data to streamline the health care experience for all stakeholders,” Ako said, noting her neighbor island experience adds another dimension to the board. “This also helps to reduce health care costs, which is valuable for every provider and patient throughout our state.”