At the recent June 2012 HIMSS Virtual Conference, renowned author and journalist Jonathan Alter discussed his views of Healthcare and Healthcare IT from the perspective as a patient himself, as well as telling a heartfelt and harrowing story of his and his wife’s experience with the healthcare system due to his daughter’s need for emergency surgery. You can still listen to this amazing closing keynote here: http://www.himssvirtual.org/2012_jun_VCE/index.asp
My wife and I recently had a similar nerve-racking experience when our newborn son, Ari, needed emergency Hernia surgery. We took him to one of the best children’s hospital in Chicago, and the care he received was top notch. His surgeon, the nurses, even the reception staff in the lobby all reflected the mission of the hospital to provide exemplary care for children. Amidst the cries from Ari, the doctors, interns, and nurses coming in and out of the room, and a deep fear that was unlike any I have ever experienced, the HIMSS community member in me couldn’t help but notice moments that stuck out as crevices in workflow. One example: Our surgeon ordered an ultrasound before deciding if Ari needed surgery. The order was submitted electronically. But the staff member that walked us to the ultrasound room carried with her notes from the surgeon on a piece of paper. And after we were out of the hospital, our pediatrician had to send by fax a request for the files, as opposed to getting them electronically from the hospital. Minor moments, but they stuck out as antiquated amongst the high-tech equipment and computer systems.
Again, the quality of care our son received was top-notch, and I will be eternally grateful to this organization for saving Ari’s life. But this experience proved to me the work our community is doing is noble, saves lives, and helps providers focus on their passion for providing quality care to their patients. And that we have more work to do.