The room was silent except for the humming noise made by the computers’ fans. It smelled of stale cigarettes and spilt hops. The venetian blind the program manager had been wearing as a hula skirt lay bent and twisted next to the large aluminum trash can. Other than the light coming from the smashed exit sign, the only other illumination came from the few remaining flat screen monitors.
I made my way across the floor of the EHR War Room, accidently kicking the empty bottle of Grey Goose. I watched without interest as it spun around on the damp commercial carpeting as though it was playing a solo game of spin the bottle.
The ten page project plan hung in tatters on the far wall, itself the victim of a game of nacho-darts. Of the thirty-five desks in the room, all but four were empty. The empty desks sat barren; no computers, no user manuals—no scraps big enough for the other Whos’ mouces.
Friday’s party was a joint celebration of the project team for the EHR go-live. The thirty-one members the vendor had supplied were in such a hurry to leave the project at the end of the party that two of them were almost trampled to death by their mates as they rushed the door. The scene was reminiscent of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona.
Sally’s desk sat next to the wall chart that displayed the daily decline in productivity. Her head rested on her desk while her monitor’s coral reef screen saver displayed a single yellow tang swimming from left to right and back again.
Larry was staring aimlessly into a Styrofoam cup, using his index finger to stir what was left of a room temperature margarita. “What now Boss?” He asked. “We all know it does not do what it is supposed to do. And, you know who they are going to blame; us.
“Well, at least we have the Meaningful Use money to look forward to,” chimed Sally. “That should make them happy upstairs.”
“We spent more money on chips and salsa than we will see of the ARRA money,” I told her. She slumped back to her desk.
What now indeed, I wondered. What do we do once all the money has been spent and the subject matter experts leave?
“Maybe if we do not say anything nobody will know,” I offered. “Let’s pretend we know something about ICD-10, keep our heads down, and try to look busy.”
What should we do? What would you do if your mother asked you?