EHR: The Migratory Patterns of Coconuts

Are you suggesting coconuts migrate? (Not at all, but a swallow could grip it by its husk.)

Sometimes I get reactions from my clients which suggest that my ideas have people questioning if I just fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down, especially when what we’re discussing seems to move from the theoretical and towards the heretical. However, there was a presentation I made to one of my clients where I had the entire room believing that i might as well have been suggesting that coconuts migrate.

Allow me to set the stage. I presented to the CIO of one of the largest providers in Europe a vision for what their IT strategy should be. This was an 0.2 firm requiring a 2.0 solution.  As you can guess, it was fairly easy to suggest that better alternatives were available to them, but if you’re a member of the Flat Earth Socitey you’re not going to believe anything until someone is able to literally change your perspective.

During my presentation I wrote on the white board that I would help them choose between three alternatives. At this point, a British colleague and good friend, came to the front of the room—uninvited, removed the marker from my hand, erased the word ‘between’, and penned the word ‘amongst’. “We choose between two things, and amongst three or more,” he said with a grin and then returned to his seat. I suggested that since English was not the native language of our client that his point was probably lost on them, to which he stated that his point was directed at me whose native language was supposed to be English. God save the queen. He also tried to make the point on more than one occasion that the American War of Aggression with England did not end in 1783 with a victory for America, but with a British retreat.

Anyway, we were choosing between three alternatives, at least I was. After about ten minutes of explaining what could be achieved and how it might be structured, I was interrupted again, this time by the CIO. He too took my marker, concluding that I was a coconut. It took me about thirty minutes to convince him that everything I’d presented was not only achievable, but already operational in a number of their competitors.

So, as we head down the EHR path with our Project Management Executive, the person who will be spearheading the internal effort to affect change, we must find a way to make sure the executive is properly equipped. For starters, the executive needs to have, and to be able to communicate a vision, a vision for the change, for how it will impact the organization, and an ability to communicate it.


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