While I was digging through some old papers of mine I ran across a grant paper that I wrote as a consultant some 22 years ago. At the time, I was working with a forward-thinking group of geriatrics providers whose ambition was to make care guidelines available across the continuum of care. As I read the words of the grant, I was struck by how close many of the requirements paralleled what we in the health information exchange community are now working to achieve with the NHIN.
Specifically, the area of standardized nomenclature was identified as being paramount to the ability to apply the guidelines consistently in all care settings: hospital, clinic, nursing home, etc. The overall design of this forward-thinking system was fashioned to enable the guidelines to be viewed and applied to patient data irrespective of the source of that data or the system it was being viewed in. While the resulting system design was far ahead of the technology available at the time, the objective is similar to the objective we have today. Technology innovation is continuous and begins with an idea or a thought, as it did for me 22 years ago. Just as in the past, goals may not be met to the letter, but the pursuit of the goals moves us light years ahead.
I know that many of the goals of NHIN may not be realized to the extent expected but I do believe we have turned the corner in our ability to make effective use of the data that will be available.
Now is it even worth the effort to read my latest find: “ARCnet vs Token Ring”?
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