“If your faith in this county is waning,” Park said, go to a datapalooza, which are proliferating locally, as well as the third national competition, which is coming up in June. “It is the most inspiring display of unique American mojo that I've ever seen.”
What took Park to the next level, he explained, came after a phone call he received seven months ago from his wife, who was rushing their then 1-month-old daughter, Diana, to the hospital. She was diagnosed with a ventricular defect that manifested itself as a 5-7 centimeter hole in her heart.
“It used to be a death sentence, but currently it's something you can fix,” Park said. And it was fixed, so she is “now on the track to be healthy,” Park said, is voice breaking several times with emotion.
Though Park said he never before thought he could be more passionate about healthcare IT, “This experience gives me perspective, which is usually code for, nothing else matters.”
Park said perspective means that your work is not merely important, but that “your work is so much more important than you could ever believe.”
“I learned acutely during this experience, just how important it is to have the right information at the right time. It's not a luxury. It's not a ‘nice to have.' It is the difference between a good outcome and bad, between life and death.”
Now, he said, “I have this image of Diana in my head constantly,” which he described as “incredible fuel” empowering his work.
“I'm so excited to see the innovations you're working at to come,” Park said. “A lot of you were doing this kind of innovation before it was cool, and for that I thank you. But not as the chief technology officer at HHS, but as a dad, and as a father.”