You may wonder what Michael J Fox has to do with HIMSS and health information technology…
After hearing his very humble keynote at the HIMSS 2011 Conference in Orlando, I have to answer--everything! He gave a compelling description of his life, struggles with becoming famous and how life-changing events of his life—were just that—they changed who he was and now is. From his perspective—the events of greatest impact on who is now is—was meeting and marrying his wife and finding out he had Parkinson’s Disease. To paraphrase his stories— both events stopped him cold. When he first met his wife on his sitcom, he made a snide comment to her about what she had for lunch (inferring garlic breath or the like) after which she put him in his place; when he first heard the word “Parkinsons”, he said he went home and got into bed—“because I was sick.” In both cases, his world had changed.
While his diagnosis was the reason for his leaving the award winning Spin City show, Michael J Fox has gone on to author several books, including his most recent: Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. His passion now lies in using his fame to bring research and progress to the goal of curing Parkinson’s through his Michal J Fox Foundation For Parkinson’s Research. So you still may be asking—what does this have to do with health information technology? As Michael put it—we are all working towards improving health and health care. I found him to have very profound comments on life and how we deal with it. It came as no surprise that I ran across one of his quotes when doing my research which related to health IT and the present change generated by the HITECH Act.
Medical science has proven time and again that when the resources are provided, great progress in the treatment, cure, and prevention of disease can occur.