Why Preparing for the Future Matters in Health IT

Tomorrow.

That's not an idea modern society seems to care much about anymore.

There are seven minutes between commercial breaks on an average sitcom. Each television commercial is 15-30 seconds long because tests have shown that is the ideal range to convey a message to a person with an average attention span. A tweet lives approximately 2.5 hours before it vanishes from timelines and social media memory forever. Presidential candidates promise tangible future progress and change, yet provide very little detail on the work and sacrifice it will take to reach that goal.

Why? Because in the U.S. we are accustomed to getting that shiny prize whenever we want it, which usually is now, before the next shiny prize catches our eye.

However, tomorrow is what health IT leaders and professionals must plan for in their organizations. It takes a tremendous amount of effort to implement an EHR, to incorporate referring physicians' data into your local HIS, and to connect to and share data with an HIE – much more time and planning than it took me to type those words on this blog, yet that small amount of time is all some of your colleagues spend thinking about the behind-the-scenes work you must do before go-live. 

So how do health IT professionals, who are busy planning for tomorrow, convey the importance of their activities to individuals and colleagues who are concerned only about what they need today? To bridge that chasm, you first must convey to them why your health IT activities will be important in the future, no small task considering the complexities of HIT architecture and healthcare standards.

And why, exactly, are your health IT activities important? It's simple: patient care.

It may sound trivial or too touchy feely, but if you keep your activities and HIT initiatives focused on that simple goal you can't go wrong and you'll have a cause that no one can deny is the most important goal of all healthcare-providing organizations. The modernization of health organizations and the interoperability of health data are designed to improve the availability of  information to caregivers at the point of care and improve patients' access to their data and to their caregivers so they can become active participants in their care.

Congratulations, you're working on some pretty awesome projects for tomorrow.