Getting My Feet Wet
No matter how hot it may feel on a blistering summer day, and how refreshing a cool dip in the lake promises to feel, there’s always a moment of hesitation before diving in – that first encounter of warm chest with chilly water is bound to be a shock to the system. But then, once you suck it up and brave that headfirst dive, you always feel refreshed, invigorated and ready for more.
My first day as HL7 CTO was one such dive of faith – at HIMSS16. After leaving my prior position as CTO of CDISC, a younger standards organization in a much smaller industry that does not adhere to strict ANSI governing principles, I had initially flirted with early retirement – for about a month before rapidly growing bored.
I hadn’t expected to take another full-time position, and was initially restrained by my rudimentary knowledge of the expansive world of healthcare and complex nuances of HL7. However, after a visit to the January Working Group Meeting in Orlando, I was undeniably stimulated and intrigued. And so, walking into the buzzing HIMSS circus, I was taking that first, icy headlong dip.
And rather surprisingly, the water felt just fine from the very start. With such a mother lode of knowledge and expertise around me, I felt relieved of the need to be the final arbitrator and expert as I had been at CDISC. As HL7 CTO, I could concentrate more as a listener and objective observer.
I am gratified that while I often asked naïve questions, I managed to stimulate the desire in others to take another fresh look and consider new alternatives. While there are so many things that HL7 has done extraordinarily well in its first 30 years, it’s pretty obvious that there are many new and different things we’ll need to explore in the next few decades.
Testing the Waters
As I continue to accumulate more knowledge and familiarity with HL7 process and lore, I’m also pursuing my two prime directives: simplifying process and structure to make it easier for HL7 volunteers and consumers; and focusing on essentials that will most directly advance the HL7 mission and vision and help further entrench HL7 as the pulse of interoperability. There are many things to consider:
- How can we make it more attractive for new members to support and participate in HL7 activities?
- How should we incorporate the best of Version 3 into future development initiatives?
- What should be the tooling architecture for the next 30 years?
- And whatever will we do if the Cubs really, finally win the World Series?
The Path Ahead
Which is not to say that I don’t catch a chill now and then, but the path ahead teams with warmth and light. I look forward to Baltimore, the 30th Birthday party, and a head full of new thoughts to exchange with many of you.
Meanwhile, time for another quick dip.