EHR’s Gordian knot

There were four of us, each wearing dark suits and sunglasses, uniformly walking down the street, pausing at a cross-walk labeled “consultants only”—I think it’s a trick because a lot of drivers seem to speed up when they see us. We looked like a bad outtake from the movie Reservoir Dogs. We look like that a lot.

Why do you consult, some ask? It beats sitting home listening to Michael Bolton or practicing my moves for, So You Think You Can Dance, I tell them.

Listening to the BBC World News on NPR whilst driving, there’s one thing I always come away with—they’re always so…so British. No matter the subject—war or recession—I feel like I should be having a proper pot of tea and little cucumber sandwiches with the crusts removed; no small feat while navigating the road.

Today’s conversation included a little homily about the Gordian knot with which the company Timberland is wrestling, questioning whether as a company Timberland should do well, or do good. (Alexander the Great attempted to untie such a knot, and discovered it had no end (sort of like a Möbius strip, a one-sided piece of paper–pictured above. (For the truly obtuse, among which I count myself, the piece of paper can be given a half twist in two directions; clockwise and counter-clockwise, thereby giving it handedness, making it chiral—when the narrative gets goofy enough, sooner or later the Word dictionary surrenders as it did with chiral.))) I’m done speaking in parentheses.

Should they do well or good? Knowing what little command some people have of the English language, those listeners must have wondered, why ask a redundant question. Why indeed? That’s why I love the English, no matter the circumstances they, they refuse to stoop to speaking American.

Back to Gordo and his knot. That was the point of the knot. One could not have both—sorry for the homonym. Alexander knew that since the knot had no end, the only way to untie it was to cut it. The Gordian knot is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem, and the solution is called the “Alexandrian solution”.

To the question; Well or good. Good or evil. Are the two choices mutually exclusive? For an EHR? They need not be. The question raised by the BBC was revenue-focused (doing well) versus community or green-focused (doing good). My question to the reader is what happens if we view EHR with this issue as an implication, a la p→q.Let’s review a truth table:

if P equals if Q equals p→q is
define requirements increase revenues TRUE
play vendor darts increase revenues FALSE
ignore change management increase revenues FALSE
no connectivuty increase revenues FALSE
new EHR software increase revenues FALSE
change processes increase revenues TRUE
eliminate waste increase revenues TRUE
decrease redundancy increase revenues TRUE
Strong PMO increase revenues TRUE

From a healthcare provider’s perspective the answers can be surprising; EHR can be well and good, or not well and not good.  The Alexandrian solution for EHR is a Alexandrian PMO.

Have your people call my people–we’ll do lunch.

 

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