It was March 19 — spring break for my sixteen year old daughter — and she was headed to Vail, Colorado for a week of skiing and snowboarding with her friends. I was also heading west to Colorado that same week, to visit one of our Innovation Award finalists, SCL Health, based in Broomfield, a suburb of Denver.

As soon as I landed in Denver, the beauty of the mountains and the openness of the landscape really captivated me. And once we met the IT team at SCL Health and were welcomed with such enthusiasm and warmth, you understand why early pioneers headed west in droves and stayed there… an outdoor paradise with smart, friendly people who care for one another.

The SCL Health story starts with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, who opened their first hospital in 1864 in Colorado. Today, SCL Health remains a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization working to improve health in all the communities they serve, especially for the poor and vulnerable.

Sure SCL Health is proud of its 150-year old history, but this $2.5 billion health network is driving innovation through the use of technology and consumer-friendly design to provide comprehensive, coordinated care through its 11 hospitals, 210 physician clinics, home health care, hospice, mental health care and safety-net services in three states — Colorado, Kansas and Montana.

While we were with SCL Health, we visited with Dr. Ann Ryan, Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Joseph Hospital, who talked to us about the importance of using technology to enhance the time she spends with patients transitioning babies and their parents to healthy new families. From streamlined logins using the ‘tap n go’ badge readers to anytime, anywhere access for electronic medical records, whether at the patient’s bedside, at homes, or at clinics across their service area.

We also toured a new micro-hospital facility that brings high-quality care to the community without the need to travel long distances to the nearest regional facility. It’s all about understanding the reason you go to work everyday, says the team, and using that mission as motivation to continuously improve the patient experience.

After a week in the cold, crisp weather of Colorado, I was happy to return to the warmth of Fort Lauderdale. But I will long remember the great folks doing amazing work at SCL Health, be sure to check out the video here.

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