PColpasearls are the traditional gift to commemorate a 30th anniversary.

And tradition, as it informs the present and foreshadows the future, is foremost on our minds as Health Management
magazine enters its fourth decade.

Tradition is an important part of any culture, the bedrock upon which a foundation is built. In business, tradition can dictate the lay of the land, help determine its appearance and establish parameters that will hopefully nurture that business and allow it to grow.

But you'd be hard pressed to find an industry that has undergone more transformation over the past few decades than healthcare IT.

Think about what the world was like in 1980, when this magazine was founded.

The personal computer had just made its debut three years prior, in 1977, and the first rudimentary PCs for business were just entering the market. No one had heard of the Internet. IBM punch cards gave way to 5-1/4-inch floppy disks, green screens gradually morphed into color CRTs and powerful computers the size of houses have evolved into iPhones that fit in our pockets. Meanwhile, the models to deliver and pay for healthcare have changed just as rapidly as the hardware and infrastructure, making communication among peers that much more indispensible.

IT trade magazines exist to provide readers with valuable information in their specific fields; to connect them with their counterparts across the country; and to facilitate the exchange of information between vendors and end users. It considerably eases the pains of solutions implementation when you can read about someone who has been there, done that.

So, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we're taking stock of what's important, and trying to reflect in these pages what it's all about:

It's about respecting the past, as HMT founder Bill Childs, former HMT editor Damon Braly and former HMT publisher Mike Hilts demonstrate with their respective columns in this issue.

It's about dealing with now, as our Pioneers of Healthcare IT finalists take on six of the hottest topics in the industry and how best to deal with the challenges they present. And speaking of technology, for the first time, our readers will be able to vote online for whom they think should be the Pioneer of Healthcare IT for 2010. The winner will be revealed next month.

It's about staying in the moment while simultaneously peering over the horizon, just as the staff at the Connecticut hospitals did as they piloted the first statewide health information exchange.

It's about looking toward the future, as we ask industry experts the question, “Where does IT go from here?”

And it's about sharing ideas, experience and — if we're lucky along the way — some genuine pearls of wisdom.


The Source for Healthcare Information Systems Solutions