I’ve been thinking about baseballs, moon shots, patients, and parades.

Between innings at a Mariners’ game, I got chatting with a visitor from New York about how in 1958, the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Adding injury to insult, I mentioned how their Hall of Fame centerfielder, Duke Snider, moved onto my block in the All-American City of Lynwood. Not good. Clearly, the Bum’s abandoning Ebbets Field (with its left-field fence a healthy 348 feet from home plate) broke one kid’s heart, ruined his life, and was nothing short of unAmerican.

I rescued the conversation by mentioning Vin Skully, the broadcaster who came west with the Dodgers and 64 seasons later, at age 86, is still calling their play-by-play. “In a league of his own,” we concurred. This past New Years Day, the legend grandly marshalled the Rose Parade in Pasadena, which I saw as symbolic of the long line of baseball announcers for whom Vinny serves as the grand marshal of their life trajectories.

Three official major league baseballs sit on my desk. The first is autographed by the Duke. The second is signed by Wally Moon who was acquired from St Louis to join Snider in the Dodgers’ outfield for their second year in Southern California.

While their snazzy powder-blue-themed-midcentury-modern stadium was under construction in the hills above downtown, the Brooklyn transplants played a few seasons in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum—a drab oval designed for football in the 1920s, not America’s pastime in the 1950s. To compensate for the aberrant 251 feet between home plate and the left-field wall, a 42-foot screen was erected, making it 5 feet taller than Fenway’s Green Monster.

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A few days after my tenth birthday, when Moon stepped to the plate and launched a rocket over the “screen monster,” Skully coined the term “moon shot.”

Later that season, Moon joined Hank Aaron in the outfield of the All-Star Game before spending the rest of the summer of '59, helping the Dodgers capture their second World Series title over the Chicago White Sox.

The third baseball on my desk is from the first unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding, which was played in April of 2004, in Hollywood, Florida. On the closing day, all who attended our moon-shot-of-a-meeting signed the ball.


Veterans have been invaluable to baseball’s successful parade. The Dukes have been there for the young, talented Moons to learn the game, hone their skills, and achieve their potential in the bigs.

Likewise unSUMMITs involve all-star, seasoned veterans mentoring talented rookies in the finer aspects of the game. Many return home, step to the plate, and hit it out of the park when it’s their turn to implement bar-code safety systems in their hospitals. unSUMMIT camaraderie is similar to what exists in dugouts and clubhouses. For a few days, pharmacists, nurses, safety officers, information techies, solutions vendors, and other vested players focus on what’s required for catching errors, preventing harm, and saving lives with state-of-the-art technology and accompanying best practices.

While our meetings continue to clear the fence, they are also covering more bases—reflected in our name change from The unSUMMIT for Bedside Barcoding to The unSUMMIT for Healthcare Barcoding.

Early unSUMMITs concentrated almost exclusively on right patients, right medications. These days the meetings also address those ever-increasing points of care where auto-ID systems help ensure that patients are also matched with other products, treatments, and procedures, such as:

  • specimens
  • blood
  • mothers’ milk
  • vital signs
  • sonograms
  • glucose

Additionally, The unSUMMIT is dedicated to seeing these proven technologies thoughtfully applied to other critical processes before and after points of care, such as:

  • IV preparations in the pharmacy
  • infusion-pump integration with point-of care-scanning systems
  • medication and specimen tracking throughout hospitals
  • medical device identification and monitoring

For our ninth year, The unSUMMIT will grand marshal the healthcare bar-code parade—resuming in the Big Easy, September 18-20.

We hope hope you’ll join us as we shoot the moon in New Orleans. Did I mentin the French Quarter and Garden District, gumbo and Beignets, Sourthern hospitality and all that jazz?

What do you think?

Mark Neuenschwander aka Noosh

Perhaps you’d be wiling to e-mail news of The unSUMMIT to a colleague.



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