As I listened to the acceptance speech delivered by the new President-elect I reflected on two other powerful speeches, made also by men of vision.
The Harold Macmillan ‘Winds of change” speech, delivered in Cape Town in 1960 was full of melancholy and foreboding.
The Martin Luther King Jnr “I have a dream” speech, delivered in 1963 was full of life, hope and equality.
The Macmillian speech had no affect on the malevolent Verwoerd, who had taken to apartheid like a duck to water and could reasonably be said to be responsible for the ruination of a once wonderful country.
The Martin Luther King Jnr speech on the other hand, became the conscience of America, a conscience that took 45 years to find redemption.
The acceptance speech made by president-elect Senator Barack Obama will no doubt find its way into one of those “best ever speech” books, and we wait for an encore in the shape of his first state of the Union speech.
President George W Bush is about as popular as Robert Mugabe, although the word “inept” comes to mind rather than “evil”.
Below is a short “grab” of comments good ‘ol George has made during three different state of the Union speeches;
“Through stricter accounting standards and tougher disclosure requirements, corporate America must be made more accountable to employees and shareholders and held to the highest standards of conduct.”
“We'll prevail in the war, and we will defeat this recession”.
“To bring our economy out of recession, we delivered the largest tax relief in a generation”.
“To insist on integrity in American business, we passed tough reforms, and we are holding corporate criminals to account”.
“By computerizing health records, we can avoid dangerous medical mistakes, reduce costs, and improve care”.
“A government-run health care system is the wrong prescription. By keeping costs under control, expanding access, and helping more Americans afford coverage, we will preserve the system of private medicine that makes America's health care the best in the world”.
In April 2004 he announced an initiative that will ensure that all Americans will have electronic medical records within ten years.
As a consequence, all Federal agencies involved in healthcare have been directed to recommend actions to promote the adoption of healthcare information technology.
…………….waiting, waiting, waiting.
More rhetoric and spin, just like American’s have come to expect……as we have, also.
America is a land full of entrepreneurs, but managed by bureaucrats…as we are, also.
By ratio of population, I doubt that we would tolerate the following statistics.
* Medical error kills up to 98,000 Americans per annum, 28% of these deaths are attributed to medication error.
* The cost is between $37Bil and $50Bil per annum, of this figure, the cost of preventable adverse events is between $17 and $29 Billion.
* The figure of 28% is attributable to the fact that patient and drug information is not available during prescribing, dispensing and administration.
* Medication errors in the 7000 hospitals in America cause the death of 7000 people and account for 770,000 injuries.
* 50% of prescriptions dispensed in the US are not taken correctly. This rate of non-compliance costs between $50Billion and $100Billion per annum.
This is a separate cost to the mishap and error estimates and reflects only those prescriptions dispensed in the US, not product supplied by mail order operators from Canada or Mexico.
Phew, talk about a mess! Many of these problems are able to be either addressed in entirety or at least in part managed better by the implementation of improved IT systems.
Bush and Obama have been endlessly compared since the US election so I won’t bore you, save for the following;
In 1988 Barack Obama entered Harvard Law School as a 27 year old.
* In 1988 George W Bush joined the campaign trail of George Bush Snr at the age of 42.
I make this rather obscure comparison simply to demonstrate that much of Barack Obama’s learning has been gained with the aid of Microsoft.
For the first time, the US will have an electronically savvy president, despite the fact he scraps in as a “Baby Boomer”, being born in1961.
Those that know me well, including the intrepid editor of i2P, will gleefully testify that me, like many of my generation live in fear of being exposed as “IT challenged”…….I mean, how embarrassing in this day and age!
For some reason that escapes me, we are all expected to appreciate that “Gig’s” are not stickybeaks or a band playing at a venue, but rather how much “grunt” is in a computer.
Ahh, conversation at the dinner table used to be far more interesting.
Comments made by Rupert Murdoch in his second Boyer Lecture holds some relevance to how the soon to be President Obama is likely to push forward in his quest to repair America from its malignant indulgence.
* “We are in the midst of a shift from an industrial society to an information society”
* “Technology is destroying business models we have relied on for decades”.
* “I also believe that technology is making the human side of the equation – skills and knowledge- more valuable”.
* “As technology advances, the premium for educated people with talent and judgement will increase”.
This somewhat seminal thinking might prove to be the making of Barack Obama, as he impresses as a man not afraid to throw aside the time honoured practice ingrained in politicians of sounding brilliant but somehow falling victim to the pressures they were elected to eradicate.
For all the talk by government and industry of futuristic aspects and business tools coming to pharmacy precious little has happened. Barack Obama might just be the man to push pharmacy in a more fluent direction in America.………who knows, we just might follow suit.
American pharmacists have embraced robotic dispensing systems with relish, yet the system they work under is burdened by policy kept in a time-warp by bureaucrats influenced by competing forces. We can only hope this anomaly is addressed with haste.
May the good Senator from Illinois be the man to cut a new cloth.
I hope we have made you think and laugh during the year at i2P.