It is with deep sadness that OZ Systems announces the unexpected passing of health IT pioneer Dr. Ken Pool, the company’s co-founder, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer. Dr. Pool died on January 12th at the age of 62.
Dr. Pool was recognized as a visionary leader among peers, colleagues, government and industry. A master at leveraging vast experience in clinical and academic medicine within the health information technology sector, Dr. Pool co-founded OZ Systems with clinical audiologist Dr. Terese Finitzo in 1996. Together, they grew OZ Systems from a start-up to a team of more than 50. The company has become a global innovator in health information systems and technology. OZ Systems technologies have been implemented everywhere from small hospitals to large health systems to whole countries, helping support the delivery of healthcare to some of the youngest, most fragile patients through the exchange of vital data and information in the new digital age.
“Ken was a pioneer in technology that transformed the world of healthcare. You can see the imprint of his leadership in many of the standards that are in use in hospitals and departments of health around the world,” said Nora Belcher, Executive Director of Texas e-Health Alliance, where Dr. Pool served as Secretary and President.
Before founding OZ Systems, he became a board-certified neurologist and clinical electrophysiologist, receiving his MD from the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio. He completed a residency in clinical neurology and neurophysiology, as well as his fellowship in electrophysiology, at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Dr. Pool served as Medical Director for the Neuroscience Center at Methodist Medical Center in Dallas; Medical Director of Neurology at the Dallas Rehabilitation Institute; research scientist and adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Dallas; and Medical Director at Electrophysiology Laboratories of Dallas, in addition to operating a private neurology medical practice. He also served on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology.
Dr. Pool spent more than 15 years working with national and international public health programs designing and implementing integrated child health records and another five years designing and implementing electronic education records serving early childhood education. He was the co-chair for Public Health and Emergency Response at Health Level Seven (HL7), a member of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and a regular participant at Connectathon and HIMMS. He also served as Secretary and President of the Texas e-Health Alliance, and was the Health Information Technology co-chair at the Mountain States Regional Genetic Collaborative. Dr. Pool was a contributor on projects at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Library of Medicine, and the federal Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Children and Newborns. He was recognized for designing groundbreaking statistical algorithms for matching divergent data sets and was awarded patents for computer-automated implementation of user-definable decision rules for medical diagnostic or screening interpretations, and for hierarchical analysis for processing brain stem signals to define a prominent wave.
“Ken believed his team should always be part of the solution and look ahead to the next problem to be solved,” recalled Maria Cantu, one of the first and longest-tenured employees at OZ Systems. “He loved it when people would talk about this company and say ‘you’re the people that do what everybody else just talks about.’”
Dr. Pool loved his family and his employees — considering them to be family as well. In addition to being an accomplished professional, Ken was an avid fly-fisherman, enjoyed cooking, Sudoku, his Porsche and fine wine. He was a leader in his field, an innovator, a mentor and a friend to many. He knew how to enjoy a good meal and how to bring out the best in everyone. Dr. Pool is survived by his mother, Gaila Pool; his wife, Dr. Terese Finitzo; their children, Melissa, Nick and Brendan; and their two granddaughters, Kuiper Sophie and Kelsey Elizabeth.
A memorial service to celebrate Dr. Pool’s life is scheduled for Sunday, January 25 at 2:00 PM CDT at Saint Michael and All Angels Church, 8011 Douglas Avenue, Dallas, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist in Boston, Massachusetts and to Saint Michael and All Angels for Jubilee Park in Dallas, Texas.
About OZ Systems
OZ Systems develops and implements the world’s smartest information technology platforms — bridging crucial information gaps that support quality care and timely interventions for patients and those who care for them. Recognized for innovation in design and interoperability, OZ Systems has projects with healthcare providers and public health agencies in 10 states and seven countries.