Although I am not typically a big New Year’s resolution sort of guy I have, somewhat unexpectedly, ended up in a position this year of having an opportunity to start fresh with my career. I have had the very fortunate opportunity to join with Ready Computing as a Standards and Interoperability Architect. We are a small healthcare IT consultancy, who also dabbles a bit in other industries. This new opportunity will allow me to continue problem solving in the healthcare domain, which I cannot express in words how excited I am about.
So that brings me to the purpose of this blog which is primarily to explore thoughts on healthcare IT, but since this is my personal blog I cannot guarantee that will always be the case. I am also married and a father of four and an avid Toyota Land Cruiser fan. I enjoy working on my truck as it presents me with a different sort of problem solving than I get in my career, which I find helps to maintain perspective and understand different approaches to solutions, not unlike that of how learning a new programming language can help to make one more proficient at their primary programming langauge. My point here is that I may wander off into other topics.
Initially the reason I got into HIT was simple – I needed a job, a raise to support my new family and more opportunity in the technology space and found that at a company that happened to be focused in HIT. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity through my last two employers to participate in the development and implementation of several todo: IHE profiles – and for this I am ever grateful because it has afforded me the opportunity to be a part of the last frontier of electronification of an industry.
However the real reason I remain passionate about HIT and refuse to leave it (as long as I have the option not to) is because of my own experiences with the US healthcare system with my family. In spring 2012 my wife rushed our oldest daughter (seven years old at the time) to the hospital with terrible stomach pains. She spent three hours in the closest emergency room to our home, and then was transported to a children’s hospital for further examination. I found out about all this about twelve hours after it started when my wife was finally able to contact me via my cell phone as I was in Napoleon’s Apartments in the Louvre in Paris, France. I was in Paris for IHE committee meetings. I flew home the following day, our daughter was in stable condition but could not eat solid foods. We had a team of doctors trying to figure out what was going on, and my wife and I felt more or less helpless. We were in the hospital a total of nine days and were discharged with a diagnosis of Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis, and our daughter with a feeding tube installed with a week’s supply of formula. She stayed on the formula for nine more days. She could also drink orange gatorade so we made every form of gatorade we could imagine – popsicles in all shapes and sizes, slushies, etc. We were still trying to process all this, and in typical fashion read many of the worst case scenarios – about people with this disease who could eat nothing but hypoallergenic formula for the remainder of their lives.
To make a long story short we had a comprehensive allergy test run and found her allergic to the following foods: pork, beef, lamb, peaches, beans, tree nuts, soy, navy beans, peanuts, dairy, eggs and mustard. In the end this has all turned out quite well as from that point forward we knew what it was we were dealing with. Additionally, since her reaction is gastric and not anaphylactic we can simply avoid consumption of food (versus airborne exposure) she is allergic to and she will be fine. And she has been ever since. She is now a happy nine year old, doing well in school and maintaining a healthy weight.
While our experience was fortunately not a tragic one, it still made me begin to think through the many ways things may have not turned out so well, and often do not for so many families. In our case we had been dealing with this disease since she was born but we did not know it. For some families seven years would be too long. Had her reaction been anaphylatic and not gastric we may have found ourselves in a very different situation.
So this is my story, and now the reason behind my passion for driving forward the electronification of healthcare in the US and worldwide. I very much look forward to continuing the march, continuing the innovation and continuing the betterment of healthcare!