Time and Tides Wait for No Man

. . . or woman, either, for that matter.  It’s easy to go along living your life enjoying the heck out of it and then wake up, notice where you are, and suddenly realize this is not where you were headed.

The  “where” I woke up and found myself at was managing public health projects for a state government agency.  I hadn’t targeted working in government, and it’s been a remarkable learning experience, particularly at this time of budget cuts and government expansion–an odd combination.  Some days it seems that government from the inside is nothing like I thought it would be, perhaps because I never really thought much about it.

Government, like the weather, is always there.  From the perspective of private industry projects, changing legislation or government regulations can show up as a risk on a risk list, but other than that, unless you’re in a highly regulated industry, government probably doesn’t mean much more than taxation and a constant patter on the news.  There doesn’t seem to be much we can do to change the general trend, so most of us just live with our local, state, and federal government realities, like we live with the weather, sometimes putting on a heavy coat, sometimes wearing sunglasses, and if you live in certain parts of the country, often carrying an umbrella.

One of the surprises to me is how many opportunities there are for citizen involvement in my state.  And, some people become very involved as private citizens sitting on steering committees or advisory commissions or testifying as expert witnesses.  In fact, having spent a few years looking out from the inside now, it seems to me the citizen involvement, which could be much greater, given the opportunities, than it is, given the level of participation, is crucial at a time of immense change such as we are now experiencing.

Healthcare is digitizing, and a great deal of taxpayer dollars is going into efforts to increase the digitization, aggregation, and analysis of healthcare data.  Much as the financial services industry emerged in a new form and created credit cards and the FICO score to the delight of the Boomers, the healthcare industry is digitizing it’s data and finding many ways to use that data.  Who knows, maybe someday we’ll even have a HICO score.

This cultural shift is moving forward all around us with the inexorability of our own lifecycles.  It’s not likely that we’ll stop it.  One day, we’ll just look up and realize that the healthcare data that we once thought was between us and our doctor is available in ways and used for analysis in ways we would have never imagined.  And what about that HICO score?  If created, how might it be used?

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