EHR: How do you define progress?

If you and I agreed on everything, one of us wouldn’t be needed.

Of the many special things associated with growing up in America, one is held dearly by every American eight-year old male who owned an AM transistor radio with an earplug; baseball–I am dating myself which is something I promised my counselor I wouldn’t do.

On hot summer nights in the 1960’s, Baltimore’s adults sat on their cement stoops nursing bottles of Carling beer and waiting for their window air conditioners to suck out the heat.  Their male offspring lay in bed, a plastic earplug dangling from their ear as they turned the dial of their transistor radio to find the lone radio station covering the Baltimore Orioles. In spite of the constant static, they faithfully kept score on a hand-drawn score sheet in their black and white Composition notebook.

My scorecard was homemade; carefully drafted using a pencil and something relatively straight to draw the lines that separated each of the nine innings. Unlike today, when the concept of team has given way to the concept of players whose loyalty lies with the highest bidder—free agents, the lineup for the Orioles rarely changed by more than a player or two each year.

The Orioles team pennant hung on my bedroom wall, and on my dresser was their team photo along with my membership card to the Junior Orioles. Next to me as I kept score was my tattered shoe box containing my collection of baseball trading cards, sorted by team and held together by rubber bands.  A few hundred stale sticks of pink powdered bubble gum that came with each five-pack of cards was stacked neatly in one end of the box. The cards for the opposing team were spread before me so I could get the lineup and study their batting statistics.

What made me think of this was that the last of our snow had melted, and opening day is less than a month away.  Last year my son and I went to a minor league game. Although the grass was just as green, and the hot dogs smelled the same, nothing was the same. Still, it beat a stick in the eye. Things change. Baseball changed, and nobody conferred with me before changing it. At the game I didn’t see a single person keeping a scorecard, let alone a dad teaching his son or daughter how to keep the score. The only constant throughout the game was the commercialization.

That’s progress. Or maybe not. Some progress is good. Some progress doesn’t exist even though everybody around it believes that it does.

Implementing new technology doesn’t in and of itself infer progress, it simply means you bought more technology. Not convinced? How is the productivity of your EHR?  Add up all the money you’ve spent on EHR and technology and recalculate your RIO.  Was it worth it?

Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
-Terrance Mann in the movie, “Field of Dreams”

I tear up every time Ray asks, “Want to have a catch dad?”


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