Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dispatch from China

I’m in China this week meeting with government officials, hospital leaders and academics to review the policy lessons learned from HITECH, ACA, and the HIPAA Omnibus rule.

I started Monday in Shanghai, meeting with Huashan Hospital to discuss their clinical data repository and healthcare information exchange plans.   For them, “big data” analytics are a core focus for the next year as they integrate operations in their North, East and West Shanghai locations.   Their "systemness" challenges are very similar to those facing ACOs in the United States.

Tuesday and Wednesday included a trip to Hangzhou, the “Silicon Valley” of China, home to, China’s version of eBay and Amazon.    I met with the mayor to discuss EHR and HIE demonstration projects, accelerated by the deep technological talent pool available in Hangzhou.

Tonight, I will fly to Dalian in preparation for two days of meetings and keynotes at CHIMA, the Chinese Hospital Information Management Association  Congress, similar to HIMSS.

Thursday’s keynote will reflect on the state of healthcare IT and HIE adoption in the United States, providing statistics about our progress during the HITECH years and offering case studies of US regions which have success stories.

Friday’s keynote will describe the big challenges we face in the next phase of our US work from 2014-2017 including identifying lessons learned from Meaningful Use Stage 2, finalizing Meaningful Use Stage 3, building analytics in support of ACOs, securing cloud services, and embracing mobile including family/patient engagement apps.

On Saturday I will meet with several Ministry of Health officials to discuss nationwide standards and policy for China, then fly back to Boston.

I try very hard to limit travel and often speak virtually these days.   In China, like many Asian countries, physical presence is important.    My role as Harvard Professor includes volunteering my time to share my experiences, encouraging others avoid my failures, and mentoring the next generation of healthcare leaders worldwide.  The 12 hour time difference in Asia enables me to work 12 hours in China then work 12 hours in Boston.  

I turn 52 this week and thus far, the balance of life as a CIO, professor, husband, father, and farmer seems to be working.    I can tell that the road warrior wear and tear, including 12 hour time changes, is likely to become more difficult.  For today (and as long as I can) I will live each day to the edge of my capabilities.

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