Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Time for Giving Thanks

2012 has been a year of joys and sorrows.   My wife had breast cancer, my mother broke her hip,  my cat died of pancreatic cancer, I left my CIO role at Harvard Medical School to focus on BIDMC's emerging accountable care organization, and moved/consolidated two families from suburban houses into Unity Farm.

Some would consider this amount of change and challenge to be overwhelming.

I think of them as transformative.

It may sound strange to quote Marilyn Monroe when reflecting on Thanksgiving, but her words are appropriate:

“I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

Without the catalyst of my wife's cancer diagnosis, we would not have sold our home and purchased the farm at a time when market conditions were ideal for both transactions.

My mother's hip fracture enabled us improve their house for accessibility and reconcile her medications.

My cat's unexpected illness educated us about animal care at a time when we took on the responsibility for 50 chickens, llamas/alpacas, and guinea fowl.

My job consolidation enabled me to channel all my passion and energy into healthcare information exchange at the federal, state, and local level such as the Massachusetts Golden Spike event.

Unity Farm has provided a healing environment for everyone in the family and the memories of the work required to sell two houses, close my wife's gallery and move her studio to the farm is fading fast.

BIDMC was ranked the #1 IT organization in America this year.  We were the first hospital in the country to attest to meaningful use and receive stimulus funding.  We achieved all our FY12 application and infrastructure goals.

Regardless of the events of any given day, temporary crises or urgencies pale in comparison to the well being of people.   As we approach Thanksgiving 2012, all the people in my world are good.

My wife and daughter are happy.   My parents are healthy.   My Federal and State colleagues are working hard on challenging projects they enjoy.   My BIDMC teammates are making a huge difference during the most exciting time in the history of healthcare IT.   The citizens of Unity Farm are loved and well cared for.

In 2012, the events of each day were sometimes negative, but the trajectory for the year has been overwhelmingly positive.

As I tell my daughter, it's unclear what the endpoint will be, but as long as the journey along the way is the best you can make it, everything will be ok.

After all the events of the past year, I remained convinced that the future will be bright.

Thanks to everyone who traveled the path with me this year.


MR01 said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Dr. Halamka! M. Rocco

Mattpenning said...

A great outlook on a year of change. I love the Marilyn Monroe quote.

Congratulations to you and your team for the national recognition. Keep at it. Health IT needs your energy and influence.

My best to you and yours for 2013

Seth Foldy said...

Well said! Well lived!

passion said...

Definitely the future will be bright for Health IT and humanity with your passion and mentorship. Happy Thanksgiving Dr. Halamka and family --Ankur Seth