Having spent the past year following the HITECH Act, and part of that year writing this blog, your mind begins to think a little differently—knowing that words will at some point have to describe contextually the direction health care is moving. This year, I greatly enjoyed reading holiday cards from friends and family (who always beat me to the deadline—mine are notoriously mailed after Christmas!) This year a noticed a subtle theme in the cards which perhaps I just had not paid attention to in previous years. There was always some reference to health, conditions acquired since the previous holiday season, improvements and in some cases, unfortunately—death of a family member.
First, I noticed (and was grateful) that most friends now include a letter—that summary that we all swore we would never do when the trend began—but which we all do now—otherwise there would be little chance for sharing a year’s worth of our lives. Second, the mention of loved ones who have passed on—in many cases, parents.
Third and most impressive, I realized how as friends—we have to share the difficult parts of our lives so we can support each other. Friends spoke of conditions—Parkinson’s, struggles with cancer and more—even to the detail of where they went to receive the treatment which made them feel best. My first instinct was—Oh! This is protected health information—the result of sitting through too many day long meetings on patient privacy and security. Then I realized that to support each other, we have to trust that the information will be used appropriately, and that we share with only those whom we know from experience will respond in support. If only it were so easy for those establishing the framework for health information exchange in our country. At least they understand the foundation for what must occur…thus—the “Trust Framework”.
Best wishes for love, good will and trust this holiday season.