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Lynn Iwamoto (center) receives the first-ever Hawaiʻi Health Partners Member of the Year Award.

For more than three decades, Lynn Iwamoto has served Hawaiʻi as a neonatologist at Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women & Children while training the next generation of pediatricians as an associate professor at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) at the University of HHawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Iwamoto was honored by Hawaiʻi Pacific Health (HPH) and Hawaiʻi Health Partners as the Member of the Year for making the healthcare landscape safer for patients. She created the Maintenance Certification Program, which gives physicians credit for their quality and patient safety work.

Years ago, once doctors became certified, they stayed certified throughout their careers.
However, in medicine, advances and breakthroughs are constant, and the American Board of Medical Specialties currently requires physicians to stay up-to-date.

“They’re showing that they’re really trying to keep up with the information that is rapidly increasing and that they’re trying to do things to help their patients by improving care,” Iwamoto said.

Creating a blueprint for physician certification

Through the Maintenance Certification Program, Iwamoto created a blueprint for physicians at HPH to get credit to keep them current within the American Board of Medical Specialties standards.

“The whole board perspective is that physicians are already doing the work, so what we just want to do is give them credit for what they are already doing.”

Iwamoto started crafting the guidelines for HPH and shared an example in neonatology that HPH physicians were already working on that they can now receive credits for.

Their efforts to boost breast milk rates for preemie babies included educational interventions for staff and parents. The initiative led to a notable increase in preemies going home with breast milk feedings, contributing to better outcomes and recognizing physician participation in the project.

“[This not] only contributes to better outcomes for babies, but we were able to give our physicians credit for actively participating in the project,” Iwamoto said. “The sense of giving back is special. Being part of the community is being able to contribute. That’s the best part of practicing medicine here.”

Read more on the JABSOM website.

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