November 16, 2022

2022 Women Leaders in Digital Health: Vanessa Kinch

Vanessa Kinch, Regional Manager, Clinical Informatics, Northern Health Authority

Simply put, Vanessa is a clinical informatics rock star in rural healthcare! She possesses the strengths and qualities of enterprise, confidence, and credibility, along with effective communication, and leadership influence. We’re proud that she is part of our Northern Health family, contributing daily to making rural healthcare better in northern British Columbia.

Vanessa Kinch lives in Prince George, BC, located in the Northern Health region, which serves roughly 300,000 people covering the same area as California. Vanessa holds a dual master’s in Nursing and Informatics. Vanessa began her career as a Registered Nurse and moved to Informatics as a University of Victoria co-op student in the Northern Health IT department. After graduation, she joined the first Clinical Information Systems (CIS) team at Northern Health where she utilized her skills and knowledge in system development, usability, business process management, and change management to achieve the goal of improving patient health outcomes. She is passionate in her key role to translate and prioritize clinical requirements into the selection, design, build, maintenance, and evaluation of clinical systems to enable patient and family-centred care. Vanessa leads a strong team of Clinical Informatics and EMR Adoption Specialists who have a broad scope, specializing in system design and adoption, clinician support, and business decision support.

Northern Health is geographically the largest, most highly distributed health authority in British Columbia, with the smallest population of residents who have, on average, poorer health status than residents of BC as a whole. This creates tremendous challenges as care is being provided in urban, rural and remote areas, often with limited community infrastructure to support digital care. In the past year, Vanessa has been instrumental in leading the transition of NHA from pandemic-centric care to an ambitious initiative to implement electronic documentation and ordering in all acute (both hospital and diagnostic and treatment centers) and long-term care facilities. Vanessa’s ability to use resource pressures as a growth and learning opportunity to create a more accessible and sustainable health system in the north using virtual care technology is a great achievement. Additionally, she has provided leadership in the creation and implementation of portals for client access to enterprise services, as well as expanding the enhanced case and contact management that was COVID-centered to include the full scope of reportable communicable diseases. These advancements could only be made by a skilled leader who is confident in setting the course of direction to optimize change improvements in an ever dynamic healthcare environment.

Vanessa is an active advocate for women in the field of Informatics. She supports and mentors women to develop as professionals with successful digital health careers while accommodating education and work life balance. Vanessa is critical in the advancement of interoperability and integration to facilitate transformational solutions that support rural and remote Indigenous community access to health care. Vanessa led foundational work around the development of an Indigenous Identity Data Standard. She promotes culturally safe data standards to measure determinants of health for marginalized groups impacted by colonization, racism, bias, and discrimination that lead to health inequities and disparities. Vanessa promotes data to inform actions and interventions to improve health equity among marginalized groups by collecting data on inequalities in health care, experiences, and outcomes. Vanessa’s goal is to support harmonized and high-quality data to help identify and address health inequities for appropriate and respectful care