Pittsburgh Smog at Midday—and the Healthcare Informatics 100 in 2018

April 11, 2018
What does the history of the city of Pittsburgh have to do with the Healthcare Informatics 100? Think transformation—and this exciting moment in the ongoing evolution of the healthcare information technology industry

I loved reading this June 2012 article by Mark Byrnes in CITYLAB, an online publication “dedicated to the people who are creating the cities of the future—and those who want to live there,” about what the city of Pittsburgh looked like in 1941. Byrnes wrote, “In 1941, influenced by a similar policy introduced in St. Louis four years earlier, the city of Pittsburgh passed a law designed to reduce coal production in pursuit of cleaner air. Not willing to cripple such an important part of the local economy, it promised to clean the air by using treated local coal. The new policy ended up not being fully enacted until after World War II. While the idea was a small step in the right direction,” Byrnes wrote, “other factors ultimately helped improve Pittsburgh's notorious air quality. Natural gas was piped into the city. Regional railroad companies switched from coal to diesel locomotives. And, ultimately, the collapse of the iron and steel production industries in the 1980s led to rapidly improved air quality leading into the 21st century. Control of coal smoke made it possible to clean soot-covered buildings and to re-plant hillsides, helping provide the city a look it could hardly envision in the depths of its industrial heyday.”

Indeed, in the nineteenth century, the coal- and steel-dominated city—known as Steel City—was so polluted that, most weekdays, it was actually dark at midday, because of the smog and soot. These days, though, everything has changed. After the iron and steel industry’s collapse in the 1980s, the civic and commercial leaders of Pittsburgh came together to push their city forward into a new future, one in which a tremendous amount of energy has been devoted to transforming it into a center for education (the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie-Mellon University, and others) and healthcare (the UPMC health system, Allegheny Health Network, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, and others). And that transformation has been largely successful; Pittsburgh has become a magnet for highly educated young urbanites, including “technies,” and others, and its skies are among the clearest of major American cities’.

Transformation is a complicated thing, but it’s also something that is a constant in the healthcare information technology world. As the sponsors of the Healthcare Informatics 100, we, the editors of Healthcare Informatics, offer a unique, highly anticipated compendium of the top healthcare information technology software vendors operating in the U.S.—and the Healthcare Informatics 100 continues to shift in terms of the companies on the list, every year, as it has now for a very long time.

Just as the world of healthcare continues to change, so does the Healthcare Informatics 100. What has remained constant is that the Healthcare Informatics 100 remains one of the most anticipated publishing events of the year.

If you are the key person or persons responsible for responding to the annual call for participation in the Healthcare Informatics 100, won’t you submit your data today? We’re actively compiling the 2018 edition of the compendium now. Don’t miss out on your chance to be a part of one of the most anticipated publishing events in the healthcare information technology world. Please click on this link, and submit your revenues data today!

Now is the most exciting time in healthcare IT history in this country. Who knows what the industry will look like even a generation from now? Think about how Pittsburgh has transformed itself—the possibilities are endless.

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