Based on the mission of healthsystemCIO.com — to provide great content for hospital and health system chief information officers throughout the country — I naturally have a national view of the healthcare industry.
But the view from your hospital is quite different, and quite local. Your ecosystem encompasses a particular metropolitan area or geographic region. For you, HIE is about integrating electronically in the following progression:
- within your four walls
- amongst hospitals within your health system
- with owned practices and clinics
- with the local independent physician community
- a one-off with your nearby competitor health system — if you can get the CEOs and CFOs to suppress the competitive juices that got them where they are.
- a local HIE connecting multiple competing health systems in your community (hopefully without the “benefit” of quick-drying government largess).
Chances are if you’re in New Jersey, thoughts of a patient winding up unresponsive in an Alaska emergency room without benefit of their EMR don’t keep you up at night. Think of this dynamic in terms of how you handle disaster recovery investments, or any kind of insurance consideration for that matter — you must weigh the likelihood of a particular occurrence against the cost of preparing for it.
It’s clear that the common expression, “all politics is local,” can be applied to our industry as well. I got to thinking as much last week while attending the New Jersey/Delaware Valley HIMSS Annual Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. The gathering of local HIT players from all walks of the healthcare community proved to be a dynamic networking event where, seemingly, everybody knew everybody else. Over lunch or between sessions, one could see handshakes all around, business cards being exchanged and follow-up meetings being planned. These local events are great places to get engaged, donate your time and energies and, not inconsequentially, build up your resume.
And don’t tell your employers, but these are also great places to make the connections that could help you land that next gig. Most people just aren’t looking to sell the house, pull the kids out of school and take a time-zone-hopping flight to their next engagement. Many would prefer to, perhaps, drive an extra hour or so to a nearby health system in an effort to move on up. It’s these types of local events that could hold the key to your next move.
And it’s at these events where you’ll get the face time required to build the strongest of your professional relationships. All the email, Tweets, texts and phone calls can’t equal one dinner with colleagues — these are the people you’ll seek out at the next national event because the special bonds of a common accent, pace of doing business and experience draw you together.
With the pace of change confronting healthcare IT, you cannot succeed without absorbing the best practices and opinions of others facing similar challenges. While national events are critical, local events are just as important. If it’s not going to be your local HIMSS chapter, seek out other opportunities to engage with the players in your local ecosystem. If there are no obvious groups to join, why not simply reach out to your colleague across town and propose a dinner. Want to lessen the pressure of making conversation — invite two.
Hillary Clinton may have coined the phrase, “It Takes a Village,” to raise a child and, having two very young ones, I might suggest that’s just a start, but it also takes a village to provide comprehensive and continuous care for the residents of your area. One way or another, connect with the other HIT leaders in your community — the villagers will be glad you did.