So, the best thing that happened to me last week at HIMSS19 was getting an opportunity to meet a speaker that I have found to be very inspirational, was Dr. John D. Halamka, International Healthcare Innovation Professor at Harvard Medical School and CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess System at a Lunch and Learn hosted by Arcadia on February 13th. Dr. Halamka spoke about his travels around the world and talked about visits to remote villages of Bihar in Northern India and how, while many people in that country have little to no access to regular healthcare facilities, but have access to 4G technology and $30 for a 64mb mobile android phone.
In a country of 1.3 billion people, there are only about 600 thousand healthcare providers! The shortfall is tremendous! He and his team treated a woman named Pooja who had to sell her cow to get uncessary medical treatment recommended by individuals posing as healthcare providers. He and his team started a Gofundme to buy her cow back which he was able to! That, my friends is a provider that has empathy! Way to go Dr. Halamka!
In cities in China where people wake up and decide they want to go to the doctor (he noted that there were no primary care providers) hospitals sometimes get 20 thousand ambulatory visits a day! Managing such a volume can challenge even the most dedicated healthcare provider. It might be difficult to understand quality metrics in that environment, at least from our point of view.
Before I left the session, I had to ask Dr. Halamka about what he feels about the Holy Grail of seamless interoperability nationwide. He pointed me to the Argonaut Project which he has great hope for and believes is a good step in moving us towards that elusive, yet hopeful goal of healthcare interoperability. Needless to say, I came away with a lot of hope and positivity after that amazing session with Dr. Halamka.
The picture of Dr. Halamka can be found on his blog, “Life as a Healthcare CIO“, which I recommend everyone to follow.