Healthcare IT from the View of a Worried Father

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.

About Adam Bazer

Adam Bazer is Manager, Distance Education for HIMSS Media. His areas of responsibility include the HIMSS Virtual Events and HIMSS Webinars. Prior to his current role, Adam was Manager, Annual Conference Education, responsible for the call for proposal process and speaker management of education sessions at the HIMSS Annual Conference. You can reach Adam directly at adam.bazer@himssmedia.com
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2 Responses to Healthcare IT from the View of a Worried Father

  1. Thanks for sharing this story with us Adam. When a family member especially a child is ill, it is the caregiver’s role to advocate for them and to push the envelope on ensuring the best possible care is provided in the most efficient manner. I recently had my own encounter with the health care system. Interestingly enough, I found myself not at all concerned about how my physician and surgeon exchanged information (electronically or otherwise). I just wanted to know that they were talking to each other.

    I was actually more concerned with the fact that I could not find any information on my surgeon’s qualifications or experience. I could not find out how good he was at what he did or the outcomes for other patients. I wanted to know the reputation of the hospital I was going to be admitted to. And most importantly, I needed to know how much it was going to cost me and my family out of pocket. As an indpendent consultant who is living off astronomical COBRA payments, this experience could send us into bankruptcy. These things were of much more concern and sent me combing the Internet into the wee hours of the night to no avail. Due to the urgency of the situation, I ended up having the surgery based on my faith in God and the “system”, which I assumed would have put any unreputable physician and subpar hospital out of business? As far as the cost is concerned, we are still watching the bills roll in, one by one by one.

    In addition to advocating for the adoption of EHRs and HIE, we need transparency. Full transperency of price, quality, and accountability, so patients can make informed decisions about their care, their providers, and the impact the price will have on their entire family’s eco-system.

    • Adam Bazer says:

      Carladenise-Thanks for sharing this story. I agree wholeheartedly with your hope for full transperency on the business side of healthcare. We are in trouble when it is easier to find out the ingredients in a fast food burger than the type of information you are referring to. I also find it facinating the way one’s perspective can shift when a HIMSS community member goes from being a Healthcare professional to a patient or advocate for a family member. I hope you are feeling better and that your experience on the other side of the healthcare prism was an overall positive one.

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