What Truly Matters

Nov. 1, 2008

Well, it’s November. As we wind down the year it’s important to remember that healthcare is bigger than politics. Yes, we elect officials to represent our interests and we empower them to chart our course; however, healthcare survived past administrations and it will survive the next regardless of who sits in the White House, so it’s a good time to ask, “Are we making progress and is it good?”

Well, it’s November. As we wind down the year it’s important to remember that healthcare is bigger than politics. Yes, we elect officials to represent our interests and we empower them to chart our course; however, healthcare survived past administrations and it will survive the next regardless of who sits in the White House, so it’s a good time to ask, “Are we making progress and is it good?”

Electronic medical records, electronic health records, personal health records, telehealth,
e-prescribing, computerized physician order entry, regional health information organizations, national health information network, radiology information systems, picture archiving and communications systems, evidence-based medicine, decision support, health information exchange, interoperability, Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) — these are only some of the technologies, organizations and legislation active in healthcare today.

Is all of that progress? I think so. Perhaps so do the millions of Americans whose lives were improved by a caregiver wielding one of these technologies. I’m one — maybe you are too. Change is inevitable and it’s accelerating. Consider how far healthcare has come in this decade alone; now jump back a decade and another. The early 1980s had no Internet; no hand-held affordable wireless solutions; no electronic data interchange and the Windows O/S and Apple Macs were in their infancy. Later that decade cell phones arrived (remember the shoulder bags for the batteries?) and, at the start of the 1990s, the World Wide Web was born. Who back then could have predicted the plethora of industries and technologies that would sprout from that seedbed? Now jump back to today. Kind of blows your mind, doesn’t it?

Mankind is so embroiled in our social and political turmoil that we forget what we’ve accomplished. Let us remember that healthcare is something all humans need at some time in their lives. It took humans to invent it, and it takes humans to administer it and provide it. All over the world outside of race, religion and political leanings, humans participate in these activities with one goal in mind — to improve the health of another. If you’re one of them, who chose a profession dedicated to the wellbeing of others, thank you.

In doing so, you improved life for us all.

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