Honoring Humanity in an Age of Change

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

At the time when the 13th century Persian poet Rumi wrote those words, the world and human consciousness were rapidly changing. When Rumi was 8, King John signed the Magna Carta.  When he was 21, Fibonacci printed the Liber abaci, and our algorithmic age took breath.  When he was 34, Koreans began to use metal type and Europeans to use rockets. When Rumi was 61, eye glasses were invented.  When he was 62, the astronomical compass

Yet amongst the transforming world, Rumi already knew a key tenet of effective change management.  True lasting change always begins with the self.




Maybe there has never been a time in our collective history when change didn’t feel rapid and unstoppable.  It certainly feels that way today. In healthcare alone, changes over the past decade have impacted providers, politicians and patients in equally bewitching and beleaguering ways, all of us wondering what comes next.

Maybe it’s easier than we think to relate to Rumi and his fellow dervishes, whirling beatifically and transcended, wondering when that uneasy feeling in the pit of the stomach was going to go away. It hasn’t gone away for me yet.  How about you?


On a recent episode of STEPS to Value, HIMSS’s exclusive podcast focused on the topic of health IT value optimization, the host, Rod Piechowski, discussed with HIMSS North America Board member Dr. Ferdinand Velasco, chief health information officer at the Davies award-winning Texas Health Resources, the impact technological, regulatory and operational changes over the past 10 years has had on the healthcare industry.  During the conversation, Dr. Velasco described one unintended consequence of the pace of change in health IT-related policy and its impact on patient safety as well as clinician and patient satisfaction. 


“It seems like just when we are beginning to get a sense of the direction that policy is going, it changes 180 degrees with the next cycle of rulemaking…It seems like the stress, the emphasis on certain things changes from one year to the next, and it is difficult for our clinicians to keep up with it all. Not only are the rules very long and lengthy, and the process of trying to decipher it all difficult, unless you’re an expert at reading what CMS and others put out. But increasingly, the relevant rule making is now spread out across multiple proposed, and then, final rules.  So, it’s very difficult to keep up.”


As yet, more change comes our way in the year ahead, it would be wise for us all, providers, politicians and patients alike, to meditate on Rumi’s words of advice. “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world.  Today, I am wise, so I am changing myself”  

Healthcare; health IT;