The Summer Olympics have come to end, but since we will not see them again for another four years and I don’t want to wait that long to write this post, I want to offer one more piece about our Team USA athletes now. And, offer yet another way in which health IT is making its mark in exciting and perhaps unexpected ways.
Just as the festivities in London were getting underway at the end of last month, Elsie Hasting with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology published an article in which she shared that, for the first time in history, the athletes of Team USA are being assisted in their training and their health by electronic medical records. Their doctors and coaches have access to information at their fingertips that will allow our runners and jumpers and swimmers to get the most out of a workout without threatening their health. If an injury does occur, a medical history can be reviewed and specialists can be consulted from thousands of miles away.
What Ms. Hasting shares is important here, beyond giving our men and women a competitive edge when they test their bodies’ performance against other elite athletes, is the fact that electronic records are becoming more commonplace and their usefulness is more roundly accepted in professional circles than ever. What is tested and found successful as best practices with Team USA certainly will be remembered by the doctors who also treat people like us on days that they aren’t busy helping a member of the water polo team. If electronic medical records are used with ease and with success in this venue, the effect will trickle down to the rest of us.
Think about the possibility for a moment. If you decide to go into the exploding Health IT field, you could be part of the reason the next Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh-Jennings win gold in four years. You could stand in front of the TV and cheer as our anthem is played time and again, knowing that your expertise helped to make our athletes ready. Sounds like pretty good motivation to me!