Monday, February 8, 2010
These are the Good Old Days
How do you think about your past?
If you're like me, I remember the good, but forget the bad. My High School memories are of a simpler time, with fewer responsibilities, and the boundless energy of youth. I've forgotten the worry about college admissions, the ambiguity of the future, and adolescent relationship angst.
College was a time that I courted my wife, saw endless possibilities for the future, and reveled in the joy of unbounded learning. I've forgotten the anxiety of medical school applications, the struggle to build a self supported household, and the burden of entering the real world.
Each year, month and day that goes by brings its joys and sorrows, its victories and defeats, its anticipation and disappointments. However, I look back and only remember the trajectory, not the day to day position on the journey.
It's 2010 and everyone in healthcare IT is complaining. Meaningful Use is too hard. Too many grants have simultaneous deadlines. There are more policy and technology changes than ever before in history.
So how will you remember this stressful time?
Let's consider the past.
In 1981-82, Kathy, my wife to be, and I lived with Frederick E. Terman, former Provost of Stanford University and Silicon Valley pioneer, son of Lewis Terman, inventor of the IQ Test. In his final year of his life, Terman told me of his wartime experiences - innovative radar jammers, tunable receivers to detect radar signals, and anti-radar aluminum chaff, all created at an accelerated pace by his 850 person team at the Harvard Radio Research Laboratory. It was his version of the Stimulus Bill work we're doing today. Did he remember the stress, the wartime rationing, or emotional cost? No, he remembered only the incredible achievements created in unreasonable timeframes and motivated by the world environment around him.
2010 will be a turning point in our industry. There will never again be a time when $46 billion in funding for Healthcare IT is aligned with government/industry/academia momentum for change.
The sleepless nights, grant fatigue, policy arguments, and standards debates will all be forgotten.
We'll be telling our grandchildren about 2010 and how we transformed healthcare from a cottage industry of information silos into a connected ecosystem for coordination of care, public health, and patient engagement.
Of course our grandchildren will claim it's always been that way.
These are the Good Old Days. Trust me.
Posted by John Halamka at 3:00 AM