Dr. Ken Pool, co-founder, Chief Operating Officer and Chairman of OZ Systems, died unexpectedly on Monday, January 12 at age 62.
Ken was the son of Gaila and K.D. Pool, and was raised in Colorado.
With a disarming smile, Texas charm and sharp wit, Ken was recognized as a visionary leader among peers, colleagues, government and industry.
Before founding OZ Systems, he received his MD from University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio, where he interned in internal medicine. He completed residency in clinical neurology and neurophysiology, and a fellowship in electrophysiology, at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Ken was board certified in both neurology and electrophysiology.
A master at leveraging his vast experience as a clinician and scientist within the health information technology sector, Ken went on to co-found OZ Systems with Dr. Terese Finitzo in 1996. The partnership excelled – on every level. Ken married Terese on January 9, 1999, with the two recently celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary together in New York City. Together, they grew OZ Systems from a start-up to an internationally recognized company, which would become a global innovator in health information systems and technology, pushing the capabilities of the status quo. OZ Systems’ technologies would ultimately be implemented everywhere from small hospitals to large health systems to entire states and whole countries, helping support the delivery of healthcare to some of the youngest, most fragile patients through exchange of vital data and information in the new digital age.
“Ken was a pioneer in technology that has 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.
Ken spent more than 15 years 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 co-chair for Public Health and Emergency Response at Health Level Seven (HL7), a member of Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE), and Health Information Technology co-chair at the Mountain States Regional Genetics Collaborative.
Ken was also known for his warmth of spirit, generosity and accessibility. He could teach a class on humanity and how to use a smile or the right words of encouragement, exactly when they were needed. He always had time for others, regardless of the request. Maria Cantu was among the first employees at OZ Systems. “Ken believed that he and his team should always be part of the solution and look ahead to the next problem to be solved,” Maria recalled. “He loved it when people would talk about the company we built and say ‘you’re the guys that do what everybody else just talks about.’”
Ken was a loving son, father, and grandfather and an avid fly fisherman. He is preceded in death by his father K.D. and his brother Vince. Ken is survived by his wife Terese Finitzo, their children; Melissa Smith, Nick Pool, and Brendan Hieber, two grandchildren; Kelsey Roberts and Kuiper Smith, his mother Gaila Pool and son-in-law Greg Smith.
A service will be held at the home of his mother Gaila Pool on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. for Cleburne residents and a celebration of life service will be held at Saint Michael and All Angels Church in Dallas on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 2:00 p.m., with a reception following.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Mass., to Saint Michael and All Angels for Jubilee Park, Dallas and to Field Street Baptist Church, Cleburne, Texas.