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I was driving back into Atlanta on a recent scorching summer day when a story came on about last winter’s snow disaster in Boston. Suddenly, I felt about 10 degrees cooler and listened attentively to a story about a group of people who are being placed into local government positions to provide technological support, sort of like a techno-local Peace Corps.

It seems that this winter while municipal workers in Boston were moving snow off the roads they were burying fire hydrants under increasing layers of frozen confection. The authorities were concerned that fire fighters would not be able to locate these hydrants quickly when needed, and asked their techno-helper if there was some way to help them provide easy access to this information. Fortunately the city had already done the legwork of creating a rudimentary map that showed where these hydrants were, so there was a foundation for what needed to be created.

It seems that the techno-genius took the request home over a weekend and in a few hours created a GPS system that helped the city locate each hydrant on Google maps (don’t hold me to the specifics, I believe this is what I heard.) Nevertheless, in VERY short order a project was completed and the fine citizens of Boston were each given the opportunity to adopt a fire hydrant and dig it out with each snow fall. They were even allowed to name their adoptee, and the first was Al. By the way, if anyone did not honor their responsibility, they would be released from duty and their hydrant would be reassigned and potentially renamed!

Shortly after this wonderful success the Boston authorities received a phone call from a mayor in Hawaii asking if he could use this same technology for his town. The New Englanders could not figure out when anyone in Hawaii was planning on a snow storm, but readily agreed. It seemed that rather than fire hydrants, the issue in this town was emergency siren equipment which was often ransacked for the batteries which charged them. The request in Hawaii was for citizens to adopt a siren and periodically check its condition as well as to listen for their particular siren when the testing occurred all over town.   I hope they also received naming rights like the fine citizens of Boston.

From this example of next-gen creativity I ask: wouldn’t it be wonderful if WE THE PEOPLE could encourage our elected officials to find techno-helpers like this to solve some of the problems in the healthcare industry? Fraud alone is stealing tens of billions of dollars a year from all of us and I am sure we would all volunteer to adopt some piece of technology or surveillance behavior if someone would just organize us. Surely there is something that can be done when millions of us apply our efforts to something as important as fixing this hole in our national financial bucket. If the fire hydrant app was created in a few hours I know there is someone out there who can create the technology we need to address the many seemingly overwhelming problems facing our healthcare system.

Can each of us reach out to our elected officials and ask them to look beyond their normal resources to address issues that are increasingly complex? “Good old boy” relationships need to be replaced by accountable resources who will bring fresh ideas and ways of addressing old problems. In the interim, we need to remain open-minded to the creative options being provided in the marketplace as we transition from medical care and benefits as we know them to whatever lies ahead. For assistance in navigating your future relative to your healthcare, call us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. – We are here to help!