Julie Hall-Barrow uses IT innovation to remove barriers to care

"There have been key moments when being a woman was not an advantage," she says

Dr. Julie Hall-Barrow, senior vice president of Network Development and Innovation at Children's Health in Dallas, said she didn't plan on a career that included IT as a component.

"It kind of found me," she said. "I get so excited about how technology can make life better for children and I look forward to creating more opportunities for improving outcomes and access for all patients.

Hall-Barrow was recruited to Children's Health about five years ago as a part of a strategic focus on population health. She has 20 years' experience under her belt in distance education and care from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Children's Health was looking at telemedicine as a strategy to keep patients healthy, and for overall population health. Hall-Barrow became one of its biggest proponents.

"My expertise in telemedicine and integrated delivery models was a key factor for Children's Health in creating networks of care that are not traditional," she said.

One of Hall-Barrow's big pushes has been to get reimbursement for telemedicine in the schools so kids can get diagnosed more quickly. She worked with state government to change the school-based telemedicine program.

The program formerly stipulated that the school nurse could deliver low acuity care through connection to a provider, but that primary care physician had to be the PCP of record for the patient. Now, any provider can bill a school-based program and Medicare will pay for it.

In pediatric emergency medicine, a telehealth ER program allows patients to get care from their local provider, reducing transportation costs and allowing more parents and children to stay together at home.

Anything that reduces barriers to care is good for both patients and providers, she said.

Hall-Barrow also works with the Medicaid population.

"I had many opportunities to extend education and healthcare in a predominantly high Medicaid population with limited access to care," she said. "Through this work, I was able to share lessons learned, successes and opportunities as chair of the Pediatric Special Interest Group within the American Telemedicine Association."

Hall-Barrow is a faculty member in both the College of Nursing and School of Public Health.

Women in Health IT

Though she has been successful, there have been key moments, Hall-Barrow said, when being a woman was not an advantage.

"In the male dominated field, it took bold statements to many of our vendors to make sure they understood who was making the decisions," she said. "Many times they would want to defer to the IT lead who was usually male versus listening to me – so being bold and standing my ground was advantageous."

Her advice to other women in the field is, "Don't be afraid to speak up. I think many times in a male-dominated room – females may not feel confident to share their opinion. No one can read your mind, so if you don't share your thoughts and ideas – everyone will assume that you don't have any."

Hall-Barrow, along with Dr. David McSwain, chief medical information officer of the Medical University of South Carolina, are scheduled to speak at HIMSS19 on Tuesday, February 12, from 10:30-11:30 a.m., in room W307A of the Orlando County Convention Center.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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