Graduate recognized for involvement in clinical-trial research

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Brian Wells

An RIT graduate is using real-time information from electronic medical records to help women conceive. Brian Wells ’80 (computer systems), associate chief information officer of Health Technology and Research Computing, was recognized for overseeing a project using electronic medical records to find potential candidates for clinical research trials.

The project used real-time information from electronic medical records to find clinical-trial candidates. The system scans electronic medical records looking for specific characteristics for patients at the point of care. Once a match has been found, the system alerts the patient’s doctor, who then offers information to the potential candidates. If a patient is interested he or she is electronically added to a list of patients to be contacted by the clinical trial’s study coordinator.

The project originated at the University of Pennsylvania Infertility Clinic to assist physicians in finding candidates for clinical trials in fertility treatment. Since then, Penn Medicine has expanded the system to assist physicians specializing in dermatology and alcohol dependency. Wells served as executive sponsor, overseeing the entire project.

Wells hopes that the success of this project will continue, making this system available to all areas of the clinical-trial practice.

The project was recognized for best innovation in customer intimacy at the 2011 Information Week 500 Innovator Conference in September in St. Regis Monarch Beach, Calif.

The information services department of Penn Medicine, part of the University of Pennsylvania, was recognized for the second year in a row. At the 2011 conference, Penn Medicine was named the No. 1 organization for best innovation for the customer intimacy category and ranked 80th out of 250 entries on the Information Week 500.

The award-winning submission was based on the completion of a six-month project, which focused on using technology to accelerate the recruiting process in a clinical-trial initiative for the Infertility Clinic at Penn Medicine.

Wells, who received a Master of Business Administration degree from Villanova University, joined Penn Medicine in 2007. He lives in the Philadelphia area.

He began his career in software development and support experience for SMS. He also served as chief technology officer of Gabrielli Medical Information Systems, where he led the development and support of 11 expert system software products for the payor market.

Additionally, Wells has served as founder and chief technology officer of InteHealth Inc. and a project director of Epic implementations at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In his current role at Penn Medicine, Wells is responsible for software development and researching computing informatics and infrastructure.

Wells has been a member of the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society since 2000 and has a wide range of expertise including cloud computing, data management, data integration, speech recognition and wireless technologies. In his free time, he enjoys restoring old houses and boating on the Chesapeake. Additionally, he builds and supports websites for nonprofit groups and his friends and family.

Wells credits his family for their influence on his career choices in high school and college. He also credits his 10th-grade geometry teacher for introducing him to computers. He says once he experienced the challenges and rewards of computer programming, there was no going back.

“This project was pretty significant to me, personally. When you work in information systems with a computer science degree, it isn’t very often that you get to impact patients’ lives. We were able to help women who were having trouble conceiving enter a trial that would help them conceive a child. This is the closest contact I have had in my career with impacting a person’s life in a positive way.”