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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

The True Meaning of Freedom: Becoming More Selfless

Jul 1, 2016 11:45:00 AM Posted by Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

IndependenceDay2016.pngOn July 2, 1776 the Continental Congress formally voted for independence and issued its Declaration on July 4. This is why we celebrate every 4th of July with fireworks, barbecue’s and parades. It’s always good to remember that this is a celebration of our independence from the tyranny of the British government (“no taxation without representation”, Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts, etc.). But I think it’s also a good time to think about what it truly means to be free.

Merriam-Webster’s list of full definitions of “freedom” includes the following: “enjoying personal freedom: not subject to the control or domination of another.” I have the awesome privilege and responsibility that comes with being a partner/owner in a healthcare IT customer service related business. This concept of freedom plays out daily for us in our business. We have the freedom to choose what services we provide. We have the freedom to choose what we charge for services, what we pay people, and whether we home office staff or open offices in various regions. We have the freedom to create new ways of delivering services or follow other’s best practices. The interesting counterpoint to all of this is that with this personal freedom, one is required to make choices and those choices have consequences (positive or negative). The fundamental truth of freedom is that freedom cannot exist without the presence of choice. Our decision-making becomes a critical part of maximizing (or destroying) the benefit of our freedom.

If freedom by its very definition requires that there be a presence of choice, which also requires good decision making, how is it that we turn that freedom into a great society, a great community, a great nation, a great company? I think the answer is, to be truly free, we have to consider things greater than our own personal needs or we end up being slaves to our own bad decisions. If, in my business, I look only at what’s best for me and choose to charge too much for services, I won’t continue to win business. If I choose to pay staff poorly, I end up not being able to retain or recruit good talent. In the end, those decisions may enslave me to a downward spiral of business failure, debt and personal loss. The same is true for our decisions as healthcare IT consultants for community and rural healthcare organizations across the nation. If we choose only what’s best for our company’s interest, we’re not working for our clients and for the mission of improving lives through practical healthcare IT solutions and that will ultimately lead to our decline.

Do men and women choose the path of the military, or law enforcement, or even the medical profession because it’s best for them personally or because there is a draw to a greater purpose? I would argue it is most often the latter. I also believe that the choice to work for a greater purpose isn’t limited to those professions. It’s a decision we all make every day in every interaction we have with people, in every business interaction and even in every social media post. It was that thinking about the greater good and a greater society that formed this incredible free nation that we live in today. It is that thinking and mindset in the choices we make today that will determine our future freedoms as well.

The key point here is, to be truly free; we can’t make it all about “me.” We must become more selfless – thinking more of others than ourselves. I am so grateful to work with a great team of people at ICE that help me make good choices and I’m thankful for our customers who inform our decision making while they work very hard to better their communities. I am thankful to live in a country where, even though government fails frequently to make good choices, this great society of people still largely rallies around the greater good.

As you are celebrating with friends and family this 4th of July, take notice of the value in each person around you and how they can or already have shaped your personal freedom and thank them for it.

Have a great 4th!

Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

Phil Stravers, Partner and EVP of Strategy & Market Development at ICE Technologies, Inc. has been in consulting and management roles within the information technology industry for over 25 years and has spent more than 20 years helping hospitals and clinics “make IT work better”. Phil has had the opportunity to act as an Interim CIO for numerous hospitals which gives him a unique perspective on their challenges and associated solutions. Phil really enjoys sharing lessons learned and frequently presents at various hospital associations, HIMSS events and healthcare board rooms all over the country. In addition to his passion for improving Health IT, he loves baseball (die hard Cubs fan) and has spent more than 15 years coaching young baseball players. Phil lives in Pella, IA and often shares concepts learned from his background in coaching along with the Dutch farm culture and work ethic that his home town is known for.