Doublethink. Functioning simultaneously on two contradictory beliefs and accepting both as true. By definition, one must be false, unless of course you are living in a parallel universe, in which case you’re in need of more help than I can deliver. George Orwell defined it as, “A vast system of mental cheating”—on yourself, I might add.
What does doublethink accomplish and why does it exist with varying degrees within each of us? First, it allows us to overcome our own competence. I think that’s worth repeating, overcoming our own competence. We know better and yet we talk ourselves out of accepting what we know, creating an equal and offsetting false belief.
Second, it acts as a safety net. How? Let’s say we are one hundred percent confident in Belief A. Well, almost. There’s always that little nagging disbelief, that little devil on the shoulder trying to convince you otherwise. Sort of like ‘buyer’s remorse’—only we’ll call it believer’s remorse. Just in case Belief A is wrong, maybe I should have a backup belied, Belief B. Jeckyll and Hyde.
How does that impact one in the EHR problem? Buckle up. Most people with whom I’ve worked are very passionate about what they do and are paladins of their methods. Sort of EHR young Turks. Belief A. They do everything they can for the program.
While sincerely believing in the importance of EHRs, here’s what else I’ve observed. Much of that belief envelopes the limited notion of believing that nothing lays outside of their skill set. They often recognize it more as a desire than a belief. They know fully that they will face challenges which are new to them. They know fully that many implementations have failed and that they need to spend more effort on change management and work flow alignment than was budgeted. The list of challenges for which they lack the expertise never empties. They know the light at the end of the tunnel is just a train. They know fully that solving the current problem only seems to reveal the next one. Belief B.
So, we’ve come full circle. We outwardly profess we can do what others have failed to do, yet in our heart of hearts we believe that you may never see an ROI. Doublethink.
Which gets us back to our original question, “Are the best intentions Half-Full or Half Empty?”