Learning the Connection Between My Job and the Patient

Kate Banks

I admit that I didn’t always see the true connection between what we do here at Harmony Healthcare IT and the patient. As a recruiter for the company, I’d somehow managed to distill it into a tidy little pitch for potential candidates explaining “As hospitals merge and are acquired, there are often multiple databases involved that house patient data. We take data from these different databases and we move it over to a clean database. We provide better access. We save hospitals money. We make it easier for the physicians, nurses, registrar, etc to access the information they need to provide the best healthcare for the patients.” I must have said those words a million times this past year.

But it wasn’t until I needed the data to work for me when I really got it. I mean “got it”. As in our tagline: We GET data.

On June 5th, my husband Greg was working out at the gym and began having an active heart attack. He passed out and his heart stopped. The team at the desk was well-trained, knew exactly what to do and their decisive action saved his life. They administered 2 shocks to his heart with the AED and a former ICU nurse who was teaching a class called GRIT stepped out to do the chest compressions needed to keep it going. Her name was Angie. I call her Angel in my love notes to her on Facebook. He was then taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka and a stent was inserted and monitored for a few days. The cardiologist who treated him told us many times that Greg would not have survived without the team at the gym, especially Angel, and of course, the stent.

I have no cautionary words. No diet suggestions. No lifestyle advice. This is heredity; Greg’s father died at 55 and grandfather at 60 of a blockage in this same artery – often called the “widowmaker” – Left Anterior Descending (LAD). Greg is just 51, an avid jump-roper, eats well, doesn’t smoke, but may have a few cocktails at his Tiki Bar in the summer. He has always known this was in his family history and tried to get in front of it with his healthy lifestyle of working out every single day and eating right.

I learned that day that we can’t really get in front of our genes. But the difference for Greg -- that helped him survive the heart attack -- is the decisive action and knowledge of everyone who surrounded him at the time of the incident and then the technology that exists now that did not exist in 1985 for his Dad and previously, his grandfather.

I have nothing but gratitude. We cannot control what happens to us but knowing that there are people trying to improve patient outcomes like Greg’s gives me so much faith in our healthcare system. And faith in technology. And yes, the data. The work our team does at Harmony makes all the difference. It’s for the tech who is up against the clock and can quickly pull up records for a guy wearing only his gym shorts. The ER admin who needs the emergency contact record to notify the guy’s wife. The doctors and nurses who need the chart data to make quick decisions as to whether or not to insert a stent. There is no time. That is why getting that data right is so important. Because there is no time to be rifling around trying to find this data. It has to be accessible, quick, and correct. It’s all got to be there –so when that one guy in stinky gym shorts gets rolled in, the team can find the data they need and move on to saving him.

The work we do at Harmony Healthcare IT – it’s not just organizing data – for me, it greases the skids for miracles to occur. And it truly is a miracle that Greg is still alive. And for that I am eternally grateful.

Greg is peacefully editing a commercial for WNDU as I write. He has returned to jump roping. And turns 52 next week. It’s amazing what can happen when you pair an Angel with some good data.