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Intelligent Healthcare Information Integration 6/18/10

June 18, 2010 News No Comments

EHR Push Answers “Can We All Get Along?”

I just returned from a meeting of the OHA (Ohio Hospital Association), which was centered around OHIP (Ohio Health Information Partnership,) the HITREC (Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center) as well as the HIE (Health Information Exchange) developer for the state of Ohio.

After de-acronyming my brain from these and many other much-bandied non-words, I started to debrief myself on all I had just heard over about four hours of presentation and discussion. What I came to realize was pretty doggone cool: this incredibly complex and almost overwhelming task of redesigning healthcare is bringing people together in ways I can barely believe!

Here we have competing hospitals, competing healthcare insurance carriers, competing professional organizations, and competing healthcare docs/providers all talking — and, I must emphasize, talking civilly — about how we can all work together in a very fast time frame to bring some of this much needed change to the entirety of healthcare in Ohio. (Granted, some of this realization comes from other meetings and other conference calls which weren’t focused just upon the OHA, but the truth of the cooperative nature is evident in them as well.)

Way before Rodney King rose to public consciousness, I remember always wondering why my nerd friends (you know, the science geeks who built model rockets, played with amateur radios, and thought chemistry sets were great Christmas presents) and my cool friends (who played basketball, football, kick the can, and just hung out being…well…cool) couldn’t all play together. I mean, really, I liked both groups equally. I really wanted to have both elements at my birthday parties. But, as the years wore on, it became increasingly obvious that geeks don’t mingle well with cools. Always bummed me out.

Leaving my ancient childhood behind and moving into the modern era, I am absolutely in awe of the power that this huge challenge (brought about by the acronyms, HITECH and ARRA) has become such a unifying force, at least here in Ohio, bringing together folks who have been known to work at one hundred and eighty degree odds in past confrontations..er…conversations. I’m not sure all the federal funding in the world could have done this for my nerds/cools dilemma, but, at least for healthcare, it has been almost as motivational as a 9-11 or Pearl Harbor for bringing disparate parties to a mutually agreeable consensus.

Though the healthcare crunch is putting people’s lives in jeopardy every day, I realize equating our healthcare crisis with an attack upon our nation may be stretching it. But, darned if I’ve ever seen anything else, or even heard of anything else, which comes as close to the powerful sense of community cooperation for the common good as what I’ve been witnessing here. It has my sense of snarky skepticism all balled up in almost pie-eyed optimism…and I am in awe!

“Can we all get along?” Apparently, we can…at least for a while.

From the pie-eyed trenches…

“I find nothing more depressing than optimism.” – Paul Fussell


Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician, directs the “Pediatric Office of the Future” exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics and is a member of the Professional Advisory Council for ModernMedicine.com. More of his blather…er, writings…can be found at his blog, practice web site or directly from doc@madisonpediatric.com.

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