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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where will you be in five years?

This is a question that I ask myself from time to time, and I imagine myself, five years hence, and make up stories about where I am and what I'm doing, and how I got there.

This question is especially relevant to Health IT folk at this time, as we are presently in an era of unprecedented EHR and Health IT adoption.  This isn't just a US perspective, but also an International one. HL7 is also at a cross-roads, as I've mentioned in my previous post (see The Future of HL7).  Just for fun, here is an imaginary day in the life of "Motorcycle Guy", on the eve of July 4th, 2019.

I've just finished making travel arrangements to the Second Quinquennial Health IT Conference to be held in (semi-exotic location).  It's a week long conference in which members of CDISC, DICOM, HL7, IEEE, IHE, ISO, OpenEHR, WHO, X12 and others, along with national standards organizations and professional societies from all over the world join together to develop an international Healthcare standards strategic plan.

I'm part of the US delegation as a member of recently formed US Standards Collaborative.  It's a public/private partnership thingy with ONC, CMS, et. al. providing a chunk of the funding (and thus getting to drive some of the agenda), but also has significant vendor and provider engagement.  It sort of evolved in some ways out of the Direct Project and subsequent ONC driven S&I Framework initiative, and later formation of HL7 USA, almost by accident.  You see, after HL7 USA was created, when ____ suggested that it and ___ get together and do something, and those two organizations decided that it was a good idea to get together, a few of the other US based SDOs got a little concerned and decided that they wanted in (rather than trying to break it up).  It got a little bit messy for a while, but eventually everyone agreed that it would be better to work together, and so now we have our own collaborative.

There was enough momentum in that activity to get ___ and ___ to reach out to ___ and ____ and thus we had what's now know as the First Quinquennial Health IT meeting in Geneva (it seemed like a safe place to have it at the time).  We actually had a pretty good turnout, something like 500 of the top Health IT, Standards and Informatics people from around the world.  All we did was talk to each other, ... oh, and we agreed on one thing, to do this again in five years.  Since then, there's been a large number of collaborations that probably wouldn't have happened if we hadn't had that first meeting.  There's not really anything formal about the way that works, but the idea is that if we simply get together and bound around some ideas about what we do.

Anyway, it should be fun, and it will definitely take my mind off the question I've been asking myself lately: "What do you want to do when you grow up?"

So, it's an interesting little exercise, and I suspect some of the ideas that I get when I do it are just a bit far afield.  But at least it makes for some interesting daydreams.


  1. While you're there, visit the CERN LHC and see what a good working collaboration can do.

  2. When dreaming, be bold - according to the standards organisations will have been fully merged into one before 2016 - headquartered in Copenhagen, Bejing and Ann Arbor.

    When dreaming, be exotic - IHMSDO have an upcoming meeting in Bejing - much better than predictable Geneva.

    When dreaming, be sure to keep on dreaming - after all, reality is often shaped by those that have had a dream.