All of us were affected by the terrorist acts of 9/11.
My life changed in two ways. As an active duty Air Force officer at the time, you can imagine how my military career was affected. My health status also changed that day, thanks to healthcare technology.
At the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center’s North tower in New York, I was in Ohio at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base undergoing a corrective laser eye procedure called photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). Immediately following surgery, I sat in the waiting room in front of a television tuned to one of the major news networks.
Ironically, the first miraculous uncorrected sight I remember seeing with my new pair of eyes was the burning North tower. My thoughts were a bit schizophrenic … hallelujah, I can see!! … OMG, what’s happening in NY … that picture is amazingly clear … I can’t imagine what all those people are going through… and so on. I left the clinic and made it home when the second plane hit the South tower.
Before the surgery, I couldn’t go anywhere without my glasses; couldn’t read, couldn’t drive, and couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t need them. To me, 20/20 vision was a technology miracle. I still don’t understand how the technology worked, but it worked … it changed my life. I firmly believe information technology can have the same effect on our healthcare system.
Working with my colleagues at HIMSS, we recently updated our vision for our specific area. We’re working towards a healthcare system enabled by the best use of value-generating IT and management systems providing access to all regardless of geography; is exceptionally safe and secure for all; delivers ubiquitous, evidence-based, high-quality care; and, optimally utilizes our nation’s financial resources in an economically sustainable fashion. We may not know exactly how we’ll get there, but we’re confident we WILL get there.
When we learned who was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, Americans believed the terrorists would be brought to justice. We didn’t know how or when, but we knew it would happen; and it did happen thanks to the diligence, tenacity, and sheer determination of a group of people all working towards a common vision. Americans can all share in our vision for a better healthcare system, and together we can achieve that vision with the same diligence, tenacity and sheer determination.
I’d like to close this post with heartfelt thanks to those with whom I served in the military, to those who continue to serve and protect us, and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I salute you all!!
Please share your thoughts with me here on the HIMSS Blog…on your journey with health IT and your vision for better healthcare delivery.