The Kalahari; vast, silent, deadly. The end of the rainy season, the mid-day heat surpasses a hundred and twenty. One of the varieties of waterfowl, most notably the flame red flamingo that nested in the great salt pans in Botswana, has begun its annual migration. In the muck of one of the fresh-water pools that had almost completely evaporated, writhes a squirming black mass of underdeveloped tadpoles. A lone Baobab tree pokes skyward from the middle of the barren savanna. In its shade, standing shoulder to shoulder and facing out, a herd of wildebeest surveys the landscape for predators. Sir David Attenborough and PBS can’t be far away.
Some things never change. I make my way across the freshly laid macadam to meet the school bus. Fifty feet in front of me is a young silver maple tree, the tips of its green leaves yielding only the slightest hint of the fall colors that are hidden deep within. The late afternoon sun casts a slender shadow across the sodded common area. One by one they come—soccer moms; big moms, little moms, moms who climb on rocks, fat moms, skinny moms, even moms with chicken pox—sorry, I couldn’t stop myself—as they will every day at this same time, seeking protection in its shade. My neighbors. It’s only seventy-five today, yet they seek protection from the nonexistent heat, a habit born no doubt from bygone sweltering summer days. A ritual. An inability to change. In a few weeks the leaves will fall, yet they will remain in the shadow of what once was, standing shoulder to shoulder facing out, looking for the bus. A herd. Just like wildebeest.
The kids debus–I just made that word, hand me their backpacks, lunch boxes, and hundreds of forms for me to complete. I look like a Sherpa making my way home from K-2.
I shared this perspective with the moms, and have halted most of my bleeding. I can state with some degree of certainty that they were not impressed with being compared to wildebeest. So here we go, buckle up. By now you’re thinking, “There must be a pony in here somewhere.”
Some things never change; it’s not for lack of interest, but for lack of a changer. For real change to occur someone needs to be the changer, otherwise it’s just a bunch of people standing shoulder to shoulder looking busy. How are you addressing the change that must occur for EHR to be of any value? EHR is not about the EHR, it’s about moving from a 0.2 business model to 2.0. Are you chasing ARRA incentive dollars simply because someone is writing a check?
Someone who sees the vision of what is is—sorry, too Clintonian—must lead. Be change.
One of the great traits of wildebeest is that they are great followers.
Paul M. Roemer
Chief Imaginist, Healthcare IT Strategy
1475 Luna Drive, Downingtown, PA 19335
+1 (484) 885-6942