Organizers of this year's London 2012 Olympic Games went to great lengths to praise the host nation during the Opening Ceremony last week. One part of the festivities that may have confused some American viewers came about halfway through the ceremony, when nurses and children jumping on trampolines made to look like hospital beds drew attention for the England National Health Service (NHS).
"The NHS is the institution which more than any other unites our nation," according to the Olympics media guide. "It was founded just after World War II on Aneurin Bevan's famous principle, 'No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means'."
This type of praise is unlikely to be heaped upon the U.S. healthcare system, which takes up about 18 percent of America's GDP. Still, that hasn't stopped policymakers, medical professionals and healthcare consulting services from trying to find a way to make care more efficient and effective.
Facilities across the country are aspiring to provide better, more efficient care to patients. Eventually, many of these facilities want to be recognized not only by the government for achieving meaningful use of these initiatives, but also by organizations like U.S. News and World Report, which just last month released its 2012-2013 Best Hospitals report. All the facilities included on the list have lead the industry transition to electronic medical records.
Who knows? Perhaps the next time the Olympics take place in the United States, organizers will feel compelled to gloat about our healthcare system. A tribute to electronic medical records may not be as flashy as light-up trampolines masquerading as beds, but if American medical facilities continue to adopt health IT as effectively as they have been, there may be plenty to boast about when that day comes.