One Woman’s Journey to Healthcare Empowered by Information Technology
Nancy Hall, the Chief Information Officer at MedAmerica, was a speaker at the November Meetup of the San Francisco Health Technology Forum. She is a Certified Healthcare CIO, serves on the board of directors for the Northern California chapter of HIMSS, and is a survivor of her husband’s cancer. (The following is drawn, in part, from Nancy’s story; to see her full journey, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykcnEq__59Y).
As a healthcare professional, Nancy had access to the latest technology, the best doctors, and the best care systems to treat her husband’s cancer.
Then, three years after being diagnosed, Nancy’s husband, Tom, collapsed. The nearest hospital was only a couple of blocks away, so she knew they could get there quickly. But the nearest hospital was also part of a competing healthcare system.
While Tom was (potentially) dying, Nancy was taken away from his side and asked to describe his collapse (for the third time that night), his medical history, his current medications, any previous ER visits… all of which his oncologist knew. But Tom’s oncologist was affiliated with the competition and, therefore, had no privileges at this hospital… and this hospital had no access to Tom’s medical records.
Nancy had done everything right — she did her research, got the best team of doctors, was vigilant about her husband’s care.
But that night in the ER, Nancy was alone.
Nancy envisions a future where everything is electronically connected. She, her hospital, and competing care systems have access to Tom’s electronic medical record. She is socially connected online with the national and local caregiver group for caregivers of cancer, a digital library with the most up-to-date research, and is informed about new treatment and success stories.
In that future, Nancy is no longer alone.
Nancy is cultivating that future through her work with HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. HIMSS is committed to the transformation of health through information technology (http://www.himss.org/). There are a couple upcoming HIMSS events that Nancy highlighted. One is their Second Annual Charity Event benefiting UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, taking place on December 12th. The other is the Second Annual HIMSS Silicon Valley Innovation and Technology Showcase on January 16th, being sponsored in partnership with the Health Technology Forum and SV Forum (https://svforum.org/). For a complete list of future HIMSS events, go to http://www.himss.org/Events/.
Many of us have been touched by cancer.
Share your story.
You are not alone.
Julie Hope Goldberg, PhD