Written by: John Lynn
Today is election day, and it’s definitely going to dominate the news cycle today. I figured I might as well join in. Although, if you’re looking for a partisan political post, you came to the wrong place. There will be plenty of other news outlets and blogs providing that today.
I had an interesting experience during my trip to Chicago for AHIMA. I decided to use AirBnB to find a place to stay in Chicago. I’d previously used it in San Francisco and Boston with great success. I met some really interesting people, saved some money, and had a better experience than a hotel. In San Franscisco I stayed with a guy who did the video work for Practice Fusion. In Chicago I again found that the world was small as I stayed with a guy in medical school who’s helping his friend develop an ED EMR. Of all the places and people in Chicago, how did the EMR blogger end up at the one guy who’s developing an EMR on AirBnB? How I love serendipity!
What does this have to do with the election? Well, I invited my AirBnB host to go to one of the evening events with me since he had a healthcare background. On our drive over he figured out that I was mormon and so he tactfully asked me who I was voting for in the presidential election. I tersely replied that I was dissatisfied with the whole political process and that it was a big mess of political corruption as best I could tell.
It was interesting to consider my dissatisfaction with the political process and how that applies to other areas of life. I’ve been thinking a lot more about education lately as my kids are in school. I understand the value of education and learning, but I think our schools do a terrible job of it and focus on the wrong things. I loved this video on education if you want to see what I mean.
In many ways, I have these same feelings of dissatisfaction with healthcare. I’ve often described to people the perverse incentives in healthcare that make doing what everyone knows is the right thing so difficult. At the top of this list is exchanging health information.
With all of this dissatisfaction, many might wonder how I can be so optimistic in all of these areas. I think healthcare best illustrates why we should be optimistic. If you take a look at the majority of people in healthcare, you have to be optimistic. Most healthcare people are incredibly thoughtful, caring, wonderful people that want to do their very best to provide great care. Super Storm Sandy was an incredible tragedy, but how can you not hear about the stories from NYU Lagone Medical Center and not see a caring wonderful group of devoted individuals?
Certainly we have plenty of problems in politics, education and yes healthcare. We spend far too much for the results we’re getting. However, I’m optimistic that we’re still going to do great things. There are too many great people in the world for it not to be so.
Occasionally someone will reply to one of my posts about EMR and wonder why I write something less than rosy about EMR. I think it’s valuable to tell the full story about EMR in order to make it better. Some times that means pointing out the negatives associated with EMR. Hopefully that added awareness saves a doctor from making the same mistake or that an EHR vendor improves their product based on someone’s negative experience.
At the end of the day, I’m a complete optimist when it comes to technology in healthcare. At my core I believe that technology applied properly can improve processes and improve results. Is healthcare where it should and could be with EMR? No, but I’m bullish on the long term benefits that healthcare will received from EMR use and other applications of IT in healthcare.
I’ll be keeping this optimism in mind when I go to the polling booths today. I think we often attribute too much of the results (good and bad) to the President of the US or other leaders. I think that the general population are far more powerful. That’s why I’m optimistic for the future.