As many of you hopefully saw this morning, CommonWell announced a new Executive Director. And if you didn’t see it (and if this blog’s byline didn’t give it away), spoiler alert – it’s me!
Over the next few months, I hope to share more about my personal and professional connection to this field, but for this first introduction, I wanted to share more about why this role is so important to me and how I see my role at CommonWell unfolding.
If you have read my bio, you can see that I have worked in health IT in some way or another since the late 90s. During that time, health IT and improving the accessibility of health data has become much more than a job. It has become a passion. We are a heath care family. My wife has worked in revenue cycle consulting almost her entire career and dinner table conversation is regularly about the myriad challenges in health care created by data issues and a lack of interoperability.
I am also a father of two young daughters, and if you ever have had kids, you know the number of visits you make to the doctor in their first few years alone… please, don’t ask me to remember what immunizations they last had! You see, health care is personal. To me. To you. To all of us. At the end of the day, it is important for our humanity and our sanity to create the village we all need to succeed as caregivers for ourselves and each other. And that is why I am thrilled to take the helm of this game-changing organization that is making a difference in the delivery and outcomes of health care.
Those who know me well, know I like to explain things with analogies. Strategy, health care and technology all bring up complicated concepts that just need a good analogy now and again.
As I take the helm at CommonWell, I keep thinking of our journey towards universal interoperability as a book – with characters, chapters, acts and a plot line written by us all together. In the first couple of chapters, we told the story of the barriers to interoperability, the formation of a non-profit called CommonWell and the introduction of never before seen nationwide interoperability services.
The story began in 2013, when a group of like-minded vendor leaders came together with the belief that interoperability needed to be a standard part of all health records; that interoperability was not a differentiator to profit from but a necessary building block to advance health care. With the opening chapters behind us, the plot thickens. We introduce new characters to the story – new vendors and collaborations, more providers caregivers and patients. There are plot twists as we launch services, introduce new use cases and engage new stakeholders. There are challenges and suspense as roadblocks emerge now and again.
But like most books, the second act is a continuation of the first, not an entirely new story. Due to the great work done by people in the past, many of whom are still with us today, we have a strong foundation to build on so we can tell the rest of this story. We have more providers to onboard, more care settings to engage, and new data types to exchange.
More importantly, we must remember this story is about people and community. The implementation guides and technology deployments are an elaborate and necessary backdrop to paint the picture, but it is us together that make the story come together.
In the next couple months, I hope to figure out if I am one of the author or editors of this story, but no matter which role(s) I play, I am genuinely excited to see where this story goes. And while I am humbled to stand on the shoulders of giants, I also feel now is a good time to bring a fresh perspective to accelerate the plot line. I am extremely confident that the story we create – the network built thus far – will continue to evolve and be something we are proud of.
I also want to take this opportunity to give a heartfelt thank you to the CommonWell Board for trusting me to lead the Alliance as well as to all the members and partners who have already reached out to offer their support and words of encouragement. Thank you for entrusting me with the task of guiding the CommonWell community and advancing interoperability to the benefit of clinicians, practitioners and individuals.
If you see me at upcoming conferences and events such as the 2020 ONC Annual Meeting, Health Datapalooza and HIMSS20, please say hello. Let’s share some analogies and keep developing this story together. And of course, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.