Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It Takes a Village

In 2008, four people stopped by my BIDMC office to chat about the future.   They were Farzad Mostashari, Todd Park, Aneesh Chopra, and Peter Basch.   They had a vision to change the world through technology, EHR adoption, and data liquidity.

Little did I know that at the meeting, I was chatting with the future National Coordinator for HIT, the future CTO of HHS, the future CTO of the US, and an influential policy thinker at the Center for American Progress.

Since that meeting, I've stayed in touch with them to exchange ideas, seek their advice, and share lessons learned.

In 2009, I became co-chair of the HIT Standards Committee.   Little did I know that the HIT Standards Committee would become the most functional, most productive, and hardest working federal advisory committee in the Obama administration.  Its experts have helped me enhance IT capabilities in all my technology roles.

In 2010, I worked with Brian Biles and Steven Morrison of the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Japanese healthcare IT policy.   Little did I know that the work would become a foundation for earthquake/tsunami recovery IT planning.    Brian and Steve inspired several trips to Japan and meetings with numerous government, academic, and industry leaders.

In 2011, I began working with Rick Shoup, Manu Tandon, and Micky Tripathi on Healthcare Information Exchange planning for Massachusetts.   Little did I know that together they would create a unified Healthcare Information Exchange strategy for the Commonwealth that integrates public sector and private sector priorities with multiple funding streams into a single, extraordinary work plan.   It has become one of my favorite projects.

On Friday, I'm co-leading a design session for public key infrastructure (PKI) in Massachusetts.  I called my friend Dixie Baker at SAIC, my friend Arien Malec at RelayHealth, and my colleagues in government to share their experiences creating a trust fabric for large groups.   Massachusetts will succeed by seeking the wisdom of others.

When I was young, I thought I had to be smart enough to solve every problem myself.  In today's world, I'm convinced the best way to make a difference is surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you.  The best solutions take a village.

I've said that my tombstone will hopefully read "he made a difference".   After the past few years of working with smart people, I'm convinced it would be better as "he was part of a village that changed the world."

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