Who We Are
The Center for Quality Health IT Improvement (CQHII) formerly the Gulf Coast Regional Extension Center (GCREC), a center within the UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics that provides health information technology (HIT) and care transformation services to medical practices in Texas. The CQHII has evolved to provide professional HIT consulting to clinicians and hospitals on a fee-for-service basis. The CQHII has a proven track record of working with Texas clinicians, FQHCs, and small hospitals to improve practice workflows, patient care, and patient safety through the optimized use of EHRs. Consultants provide project management assistance to enable practices to use the EHR to meet federal and state program requirements, as well as utilize quality measures both for regulatory reporting and to improve preventive care delivery. CQHII is working closely with providers to educate and align for preparation to attest to MIPS guidelines for the upcoming years. The CQHII has also been doing extensive work with the UT Health School of Public Health on TX-Department of State Health Services and CDC grant initiatives. The role of CQHII is to help small providers and those serving underrepresented populations improve their population health management for chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, as well as preventive services such as colorectal cancer screening.
Our consultants are backed by years of experience and training, including the following professional designations:
Susan Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Assistant Professor
Principal Investigator for the Gulf Coast Regional Extension Center
Susan Fenton, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, joined UT Health School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI) on June 1, 2013 as an assistant professor of biomedical informatics. She came to SBMI from Texas State University in San Marcos, where she was an assistant professor and co-director of the Institute for Health Information Technology. In August 2014, Dr. Fenton transitioned into the role of associate dean for academic affairs, taking over the management responsibilities for the Office of Academic Affairs and helping the school acquire health informatics and information management education accreditation from CAHIIM for the applied health informatics program.
Dr. Fenton’s research interests include workforce development, data management, ICD-10 implementation and health care associated infections. Her interest in workforce development was limited to health IT professionals, but she sees a huge need to develop new methods for healthcare professionals to learn how to use information technology effectively. Her work with the ICD-10 is limited because her research is focused on various impacts related to its implementation, which will no longer be relevant in a few years after implementation is complete. As for health care associated infections, Dr. Fenton has a new project working with an industrial engineer who identifies failure points that result in HAIs. After the failure points are identified, they will determine the impact of the failure points on EHRs and documentation.
Jiajie Zhang, PhD
Dean/Past Principal Investigator
Jiajie Zhang, PhD, is the dean and Dr. Doris L. Ross Professor at UTHealth School of Biomedical Informatics (SBMI). He serves as director of the National Center for Cognitive Informatics and Decision Making in Healthcare, for which he is principal investigator of the Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects Program’s patient-centered cognitive support initiative. Zhang has spent the past two decades conducting research in biomedical informatics, cognitive science, human-centered computing, decision making and information visualization. He has authored more than 120 journal articles, book chapters, and peer-reviewed proceedings papers. As an educator, he has taught courses in human-computer interaction, electronic health record usability, information visualization and technology-mediated social dynamics.