How measuring Brittan can improve your EHR success

So, last night I am watching NOVA.  The episode discussed fractal geometry and aired the same time as the Green Bay-New England game.  Admittedly, not a typical Y-chromosome choice, but interesting none-the-less.

A fractal is a fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reduced-size copy of the whole.  Simple enough.  Common examples of fractals include the branching of trees, lightning, the branching of blood vessels, and snowflakes.  I am willing to bet I think of many of the ideas on which I ruminate in a fractal manner.

In the seventies the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot discovered that fractals could be described mathematically.

It turns out that a shoreline is another example of a fractal.  For example, let’s say you wanted to determine the length of the coast of Brittan by measuring it instead of just using Google.  The coastline paradox says the measured length of the coastline depends on the scale of measurement.  The smaller the scale of measurement, the longer the measurement becomes.  Thus, you would get a longer measurement if you measured the coastline with a ruler than with a yardstick.  This paradox can be extrapolated to show that the measured length increases without limit as the unit of measures tends towards zero.  In the first picture, using a 200 km ruler, the coastline measures 2,400 km.

In this photo, using a 50 km ruler, the coastline measures 3,200 km.

I’m not sure why this idea needed to be discovered, it seems a little obvious—more information yields more informed results.

A few years ago I was hired by a firm to report to their board on their vendor selection process.  The firm was about to issue a two-page RFP to two vendors.  I convinced the firm to redo the process.  They ultimately issued an RFP of more than a thousand requirements and selected a vendor who was not on their original list.

Again it seems obvious, but being obvious doesn’t always result in smart behavior.  If you’re getting ready to spend eight to nine figures on and EHR, wouldn’t you like some degree of confidence that you selected the best one for your hospital?

One thing is certain, albeit less obvious, the more due diligence you give EHR, the higher your chances of success will be when you try to build out an ACO business model.



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