Many Faces of UTHealth: Ross uses data to streamline health care delivery

Published: June 01, 2016 by Rob Cahill

For her capstone project in graduate school, Angela Ross, D.N.P., M.P.H., was tasked with redesigning the pain management process in a large, outpatient clinic. Despite the limited amount of evidence-based literature on outpatient pain management, Ross was able to identify areas for performance improvement. This is one of many examples of Ross using data to address a health challenge.

Angela Ross, D.N.P, M.P.H.
Assistant professor in The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Biomedical Informatics
Member of the UTHealth Center for Interprofessional Collaboration
Retired lieutenant colonel in the United States Army

What is your greatest professional accomplishment?

I completed a group capstone project during my Doctor of Nursing Practice training in which our team standardized the process for assessing and reassessing patients who are in pain after being seen by a care provider and being given medication. Our goal was to streamline the way in which the clinicians identified the patient’s pain and ultimately to improve patient outcomes, with respect to pain management. More importantly, we worked to determine how consultations with the patients can help in the management of their pain while also providing better care.

What is the most important takeaway for your students?

I want my students to understand that data is there to improve patient outcomes. If data proves that something is not being done, like reassessing pain medication, then we need to use that information and make meaning out of it. This can mean changing the process and/or improving the way care is delivered.

What brought you to UTHealth?

I was drawn here because of my desire to explore interprofessional collaboration with staff and by the opportunity to train our students in interprofessional environments. I am proud of the work I do molding the next generation of informatics professionals in their education and professional development; I am helping them understand data and how it can be used efficiently in practice.

What is it about your department that excites you?

Sharing my knowledge of improving health care delivery is exciting. Spending time in Houston and the Texas Medical Center has allowed me to be in contact with health professionals in the area. Now, I am helping health care organizations in the community as they improve their practices.  I just started volunteering with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston, an organization that provides care to the homeless population.

What has been your greatest adventure?

That would be serving more than 22 years as an Army Nurse Corps Officer. It allowed me to work with data to help improve the health of military members. I also worked as a Chief Medical Information Officer in the military. During that time, I was a part of the Tiger Team where I reviewed the medical data transition process to ensure that test results were available to the providers prior to the wounded soldiers arriving to the medical treatment facility.

Who personally inspires you?

Nancy Staggers, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, was the chair for my D.N.P. capstone project and she mentored me as I worked toward becoming a senior informatics nurse. She is a retired Army Nurse Corps Officer and an informatics leader. She inspired me to focus on interprofessional collaboration and demonstrated how important it is to work in teams to improve patient safety. She helped me understand that all disciplines are responsible for identifying usability issues of electronic health records and together we should evaluate processes to improve outcomes.

Describe your perfect vacation.

For me, the perfect vacation can happen anywhere as long as it includes my family. We love to embrace the culture of a city and discover the best “Mom and Pop” spots that serve the most authentic food for that region.