I just fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down. But lest I get ahead of myself, let us begin at the beginning. It started with homework–not mine–theirs. Among the three children of which I had oversight; coloring, spelling, reading, and exponents. How do parents without a math degree help their children with sixth-grade math?
“My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” Hedley Lamar (Blazing Saddles). Unfortunately, mine, as I was soon to learn was merely flooded. Homework, answering the phone, running baths, drying hair, stories, prayers. The quality of my efforts seemed to be inversely proportional to the number of efforts undertaken. Eight-thirty–all three children tucked into bed.
Eight-thirty-one. The eleven-year-old enters the room complaining about his skinned knee. Without a moment’s hesitation, Super Dad springs into action, returning moments later with a band aid and a tube of salve. Thirty seconds later I was beaming–problem solved. At which point he asked me why I put Orajel on his cut. My wife gave me one of her patented “I told you so” smiles, and from the corner of my eye, I happened to see my last viable neuron scamper across the floor.
One must tread carefully as one toys with the upper limits of the Peter Principle. There seems to be another postulate overlooked in the Principia Mathematica, which states that the number of spectators will grow exponentially as one approaches their limit of ineptitude.
Another frequently missed postulate is that committees are capable of accelerating the time required to reach their individual ineptitude limit. They circumvent the planning process to get quickly to doing, forgetting to ask if what they are doing will work. They then compound the problem by ignoring questions of feasibility, questions for which the committee is even less interested in answering. If we were discussing particle theory we would be describing a cataclysmic chain reaction, the breakdown of all matter. Here we are merely describing the breakdown of a national EHR roll out.
What is your point? Fair question. How will we get EHR to work? I know “Duh” is not considered a term of art in any profession, however, it is exactly the word needed. It appears they are deciding that this—“this” being the current plan that will enable point-to-point connection of an individual record—will not work, and 2014 may be in jeopardy—not the actual year, interoperability. Thanks for riding along with us, now return your seat back and tray table to their upright and most uncomfortable position.
Even as those who are they throw away their membership in the flat earth society, those same they’s continue to press forward in Lemming-lock-step as though nothing is wrong.
It is a failed plan. It can’t be tweaked. We can’t simply revisit RHIOs and HIEs. We have reached the do-over moment, not necessarily at the provider level, although marching along without standards will cause a great deal of rework for healthcare providers. Having reached that moment, let us do something. Focusing on certification, ARRA, and meaningful use will prove to be nothing more than a smoke screen.
The functionality of most installed EHRs ends at the front door. We have been discussing that point for a few months. When you reach the fork in the road, take it. Each dollar spent from this moment forth going down the wrong EHR tine will cost two dollars to overcome. To those providers who are implementing EHR I recommend in the strongest possible terms that you stop and reconsider your approach.
Paul M. Roemer
Managing Partner, Healthcare IT Strategy
1475 Luna Drive, Downingtown, PA 19335
+1 (484) 885-6942