IRHN board chairman John L. Lewis made the announcement Wednesday, June 6.
The IRHN is a high-speed, fiber-optic network that links rural Illinois hospitals and clinics with tertiary hospitals, and also throughout the nation. IRHN’s network allows health care providers to connect to the fiber backbone and exchange vital information over a dedicated network.
Holloway brings more than 30 years of health care experience to the IRHN, Lewis said. He will focus on establishing partnerships with hospitals and clinics to provide them with the bandwidth they will need to meet future health care demands.
“Roger has a firm understanding of how important technology and high-speed bandwidth are to our state’s health care providers. Telemedicine and videoconferencing are the future of medicine, particularly as rural areas seek to link up with major medical centers across the nation,” Lewis said.
Holloway is employed by Northern Illinois University as executive director of Rural Health Resource Services. He also is co-director of the Illinois Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (IL-HITREC), responsible for EHR adoption in the majority of the state.
Holloway has been actively involved with the IRHN since its beginnings about five years ago. He recently resigned his position on the IRHN Executive Board, where he served as secretary.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to enhance IRHN’s ability to improve health care for Illinois patients and to upgrade the state’s information technology system. We will build on the expertise and relationships established as a result of NIU’s leadership in health information technology,” Holloway said. “The IRHN network will speed the deployment of advanced medical technologies and vastly improve patient care and physician communication.”
More than 80 rural health care entities are being linked to each other and to urban medical centers, allowing the transmission of electro-cardiograms, CT scanner files, digital mammography files and other diagnostic information that will facilitate consultation with specialists, faster medical treatment and a reduced need to transport patients to distant hospitals.
The IRHN will provide a minimum of 100 Mbps upstream and downstream, and can provide 1 Gigabit/second. Many of the hospitals currently working with the IRHN utilize T-1 circuits for data connectivity. T-1 circuits allow for 1.5 Mbps.
The NIU Broadband Development Group, a university unit that specializes in planning, implementing and optimizing broadband connectivity projects for municipalities and other large organizations, first conceived the state-wide network idea.
Holloway’s experience as a health care executive includes working as a hospital CEO, as an U.S. Army medic, an intensive care nurse and a radiology technician. He is an Illinois native who has focused the majority of his executive health care career in rural settings.
He has established relationships with hospitals and health care providers throughout Illinois. Those relationships will be an asset to IRHN as it communicates with stakeholders about business and health information technology.
Holloway has served both nationally and internationally as a health care consultant. He is past-president of the IRHA, and currently serves on the State of Illinois Health Information Exchange advisory committee. He has served on this group since its inception and is a member of the HFS incentive committee. He also is a member of the Illinois Department of Public Health Planning Group on the State Health Improvement Plan.
“Roger has been involved in process improvement, physician needs analysis, community health assessment, strategic planning and turnaround strategies,” Lewis said. “His broad range of experience in management, as well as clinical areas, gives him a unique perspective for directing the IRHN as it provides vision and leadership for the state’s health information technology.”