Physicians, as all who work in healthcare know, are a different breed.
Physician informaticists, as one physician reported in a recent survey, are different from physicians.
And then there is John Halamka.
The physician chief information officer at CareGroup Health System and the Harvard Medical School, Boston, also serves as chairman of the HHS funded Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel, or HITSP. Halamka wears more black than Johnny Cash did. He has an RFID chip in his shoulder, not on it, and is a noted expert on poisonous mushrooms. Next week, he'll be rock climbing on two of the most famous formations in Yosemite National Park: El Capitan and Half Dome.
Halamka said in a telephone interview Thursday that he is a repeat visitor to Yosemite and climbed "pieces and parts" of El Capitan two years ago. "This will be my first time up the face of Half Dome," Halamka said. He said he will be scaling both with fellow Boston physician Rick Boyce, a genetics researcher at Massachussets General Hospital.
The Half Dome climb will begin and end in darkness, although the trip down will be on a somewhat less-strenuous hiking trail. The trail is so steep near the top, however, a pair of steel cables has been installed to give hikers over the last 900 feet a guide and a boost.
"The Half Dome ascent is 20 hours," Halamka said. "I start my ascent at 4 a.m. I'll go up the face and back down the cables and the eight-mile hike to the Curry camp." If there is any kind of cell phone signal up the walls of the valley, he won't be out of e-mail range. Halamka said he plans to pack his BlackBerry 8707g, which works on multiple networks.