CHIME CEO: HIT has profoundly affected my family's life

It's easy for healthcare CEOs to tout the importance of health information technology for providers, payers and nameless consumers, but we don't often hear what it means to them as regular patients and caretakers.

However, in a post to the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives' CHIME StateNet blog, Russell Branzell (pictured right), president and CEO of CHIME, takes the opportunity to explain why HIT is personally important to him.

"I often remind people that healthcare information technology is just technology--inanimate wires, software and computers--until you or a loved one needs care that uses the technology," Branzell wrote. "Then, it becomes personal."

Four years ago, Branzell's son was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder, managed like most cancers. Experts were available for his son's treatment--but 65 miles away, at Denver Children's Hospital. Because of this, Branzell's son was one of the first non-adult patients to have his chemotherapy treated and managed remotely at Denver Children's Hospital. Branzell and his family drove to their local hospital to receive this care--radiology, lab, and chemotherapy data was transported electronically.

Branzell wrote that he's happy to report his son is in full remission and enrolled in college--and thanks to HIT, he missed little school and graduated on time.

"All the benefits of IT helped me cope with this tumultuous period in our lives….IT will bring comfort to other patients and families in the future. It will help optimize treatment, giving clinicians insight into best practices or the most effective protocols," Branzell wrote. "It will promote better handoffs, better transitions, better care. The best care."

Branzell, interviewed by FierceHealthIT at the beginning of his tenure of president of CHIME in February, touted the benefits of HIT for the economy as well.

"We have a duty and an obligation to help transform healthcare through the application of HIT," Branzell said. "On an even more macro level, HIT, by saving healthcare, will be responsible for saving our national economy. That might sound grandiose, but I really think I need to take my role that seriously."

To learn more:
- read the blog post by Branzell

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