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Following is a post from Rose Harr, CEO & President of BlueWare

I loved the book The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. In fact, I loved it so much I had BlueWare’s entire staff read it—and then we had a good old-fashioned “book club” around the fireplace at our staff planning retreat.

As my team opened up about the book, we discovered that this flattening of the playing field provides a tremendous opportunity for us to use our unique talents. We are entering a world where our knowledge is more valuable than our grunt work. And this new world, this “smart world,” is a place where real growth can take place.

As IBM CEO Sam Palmisano said to the White House on January 28th, 2009, “As a country, we have to compete in the world. Yes, it is flatter. Yes, it is smaller. But we would argue it’s also smarter… the world does have a much smarter infrastructure, and therefore, the base to build for the future. It’s there.”

Take healthcare IT—our field of specialization—for example. A smarter, more wired world equals smarter doctors, smarter nurses, and smarter patients. While some might see challenges with this smarter, wired world, the reality is that it equals a smarter population with a longer life expectancy, and a care delivery model with lowered costs. Let’s examine the facts:

In a smart world, health information is available anytime, anywhere. Imagine you hurt your arm while swinging through the tree-tops in Costa Rica. Your health record from your primary care physician in Philadelphia is available immediately. Not only is this kind of collaboration of your health information convenient for you, but it is necessary if we plan to reduce healthcare costs and better manage disease.

We truly have the capability to massively increase the life expectancy of man-kind through health information technology. Soon, healthcare will be proactive rather than reactive. Disease prevention tools will allow diabetics, those with heart disease, and other chronic conditions to monitor their health from their own home. When their physical state becomes such that it requires attention, a clinician will be alerted so proper action can be taken, therefore preventing a trip to the emergency department or something worse.

In a smarter world, nurses will no longer spend a large portion of their day chasing medical information. With all necessary information right at their fingertips, they will be able to spend additional time with patients. I was recently visiting a customer site and a nurse told me now that she utilizes our electronic health record system, she isn’t chasing paper, and now has 50% more time in her day. How’s that for fixing the nursing shortage?

Ultimately, with personal health records, the patient’s information will be in their own hands, motivating them to become more active participants in their own health, thus their future.

As we examine the advantages (and even the fears) of a flatter, wired, and smarter healthcare system, let’s not let fear get in our way. To every technological advance, there is a hurdle that the masses must accept. Once we do, we can’t image going back to the old world.

Rose Harr is CEO and President of BlueWare. She can be found here on LinkedIn.

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May 8, 2009
4:43 am

More books to add to my reading list.

Posted by: Kristina O'Regan
April 13, 2009
9:19 am

David, I’m a big fan of Richard Florida’s too. His thoughts on cities, place and location are extremely thought provocative. We are going to be putting a lot more effort around smarter cities here in the coming weeks/months. Florida’s thoughts on this are critically important here too.

Posted by: Adam Christensen
April 8, 2009
10:41 am

Friedman only got it half right. I suggest reading “Who’s your City” by Richard Florida. Place matters more than ever.

Posted by: David
April 8, 2009
5:13 am

no wonder he got a Pulitzer Prize. However like the new version The World Is Flat 3.0 for its two new chapters–on how to be a political activist and social entrepreneur in a flat world; and on the more troubling question of how to manage our reputations and privacy in a world where we are all becoming publishers and public figures. Hope in a smarter way :-)

Posted by: Silvia Mihailescu
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