Today I was given the opportunity to return to the National Library of Medicine, to talk with Donald Lindberg, MD, and his team, about patient involvement in care and personal health records. The visit was facilitated by Aaron Navarro, Ph.D., the Assistant Director for Program Development in the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, headed by Clement McDonald, MD.
The return part is based on the fact that I started my Informatics career here, as a fourth year medical student, in the NLM’s rotation in medical informatics in 1995. I even managed to find a slide from my informatics project during that time, which was a web front end on the Guide to Clinical Preventive Services (see the images above for that screenshot). It was a treat for me to reconnect with one of my mentors from that rotation, May Cheh.
Images: click on any to see larger size
Besides being able to show that a lot of the vision of preventive care from 1995 has now come true in systems like ours, I appreciate the way this group thinks. There were questions about our ability to generalize what we do to non-prepaid health care, and about the ability of a patient to take a copy of their record to another health care institution. Prior to starting my sabbatical, I really didn’t know the annswer to the question, “Can systems outside of Group Health implement patient centered health information technology?” Now, as the stories of this blog show, I know they can.
I was also delighted to see the server room where the magic of MEDLINE and PubMed are served up, and to get reacquainted with the Visible Human Project, led by Michael Ackerman, Ph.D. When I was a student, they not fit all of the data (18 GB worth) on any single hard drive. Those were the days.
I am grateful to the NLM for the inspiration I when I was a student and I respect the energy that they bring to advancing the field of Informatics. Thank you again to the leadership and staff at NLM for the warm re-welcome!