Passing The Baton

by Paul Brannan, PMP, Alabama Health Information Technology Coordinator, Director – Alabama One Health Record®

On August 21, 2008, the Associated Press gave the following report:

With the clank of a baton, the American track team suffered an unexpected disappointment Thursday night at the Olympics.

Another disappointment, that is.

Darvis Patton and Tyson Gay misconnected on the final pass in preliminaries of the 400-meter relay, knocking the U.S. team out and meaning Gay will leave Beijing not just empty-handed, but without even running in a final.

“I take full blame for it,” Gay said. “I kind of feel I let them down.”

Had they advanced, the Americans may not have been favored to win gold considering the world records Jamaica’s Usain Bolt has set in the 100 and 200 over the past week at the Bird’s Nest. Still, it would have been an interesting race.

Not anymore.

And yet another gold medal opportunity slipped away for the American team.

The passing of the baton is a critical juncture in any relay race. If it is successful, things move smoothly. But if the pass fails, disaster results.

The passing of the baton is also vitally important for an organization. And for the same reasons. Problems during a change at the top of an organization invite trouble. But successful transition in leadership keeps things moving forward.

That’s why I am pleased to let you know about our transition at One Health Record®. Gary Parker will be taking over as Director at the end of May. Gary has been involved in Alabama’s HIE efforts from the beginning. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the One Health Record® team. For the past several years, Gary has directed Medicaid’s Meaning Use program, so he is familiar with EMRs and HIEs. He knows the One Health Record® staff and I am confident he will do an excellent job in making our HIE successful. He is more than capable of carrying the baton forward. I encourage you to give Gary your full support and assistance.

I have the opportunity after more than 25 years working in state government to retire and begin a second career in the private sector. I have enjoyed my time working with One Health Record® and look forward to seeing it continue to grow as Gary and the One Health Record® team work with you to improve the healthcare of all Alabamians.

Good luck and God’s blessing in the future.

Paul Brannan was appointed by the Governor to serve as the state’s coordinator for health information technology in 2015. He previously served as Director of the Project Management Office for the Alabama Medicaid Agency where he was responsible for providing project management support for all enterprise-wide Agency projects including Medicaid’s transition to Regional Care Organizations.