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Want another recommendation? Take some time off.

June 30, 2009
by kate
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Well, clearly I picked a very interesting week to take a vacation. I’m beginning to find out that while I was spending quality time with my family at the Outer Banks in North Carolina, there was quite a bit going on.

First, there were a few notable celebrity deaths — pop icon Michael Jackson, who inspired many talent show acts among my classmates back in the day; actress Farrah Fawcett, whose iconic hairstyle I constantly tried to copy; and one who seemed to get lost in the shuffle, Ed McMahon.

There was a political scandal, and New York City raised its subway and bus fares.

In the world of sports, Wimbledon got off to an exciting start, and Major League Baseball continued the interleague play that does not but showcase the superiority of the American League.

Oh yeah, and one other thing. ONC opened the floodgates by requesting comments regarding recommendations for meaningful use.

A host of organizations from AHIMA to AMDIS to CHIME chimed in, with the comments taking on a few common themes. First, the CPOE deadline needs to be extended. This was pretty much echoed by any and all who offered their two cents. AMDIS doesn’t want to see CPOE required as part of “meaningful use” until at least 2013, and I have to agree with that. Not only do many organizations lack the resources to roll out CPOE in the near future, but I really feel that trying to force it is simply the wrong way to go. When has that ever worked in health IT, or any other industry, for that matter?

Second, another theme expressed by a few organizations, primarily CHIME, was that more clear definitions are needed (for example, what is meant by “exchange of health information”). These recommendations need to be as specific as possible if there is any hope that the industry will move forward. This is not, by any means, a time to be vague.

No doubt about it, this is a very interesting time for our industry, and I certainly have a lot to catch up on.

But the most important takeaway I got from the last week is that no matter how busy things get, no matter what legislation being passed, there isn’t anything that can’t be left behind for a week of relaxation. After spending my days playing with my nieces on the beach, biking, eating delicious seafood and sleeping in, I feel rested and ready to get back into the swing of things.

So while everyone else is offering recommendations, here’s mine. Block out a week, find a place you will enjoy (beach, mountains, a vineyard), go there, and, by all means, turn off the Blackberry/laptop. It’ll all be here when you return, and you’ll be ready to deal with whatever is thrown your way.

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