HIT: Your most solvable big problem

Two incompatible things are a type A personality and heart disease—I speak from experience.  I usually run six miles a day, three miles out and three miles back.  A few weeks ago I started hitting a wall after two to three miles and found myself having to jog/walk back to the car.  Wednesday I hit the wall after a mile, hands on my knees and gasping for air.

The air thing bothered me because that is what happened during my heart attack in 2002.  As I tried to make it back to my car I had to stop every few steps to catch my breath.  As I made it to a field and lay down several people stopped to ask if I needed help—this is where the incompatibility I mentioned comes into play.

I did not want to impose.  One of those who stopped happened to be a cardiology nurse and she was not taking no for an answer.  Dialing 911 she stated “I have an older gentleman, 60-65 having trouble breathing.”  That got my attention—all of a sudden my age seemed to be a much more important consideration to me than whether or not I could breathe.  “I am 55,” I corrected her.

Knowing how close I was to my home I tried unsuccessfully to get the EMTs to stop by my house before going to the hospital so I could get my laptop.  After three hours of tests, and without concluding why I had trouble breathing, they ruled out anything to do with my heart and sent me home.

I think knowing when to ask for help and accepting help relates a lot to healthcare IT; EHR, Meaningful Use, ICD-10.  These are each big, ugly projects.  There are several things that can happen on big, ugly projects, and most of them are bad.  This is especially true when the project involves doing something for the first time and when the cost of the project involves more than one comma.

Now we both know there is nobody with years of experience with Meaningful Use or ICD-10, and there are not many people who have one year’s experience.  So why ask for or accept help?  The truthful answer is because there are some people who know enough to know what to do tomorrow, and from where I sit the toughest part of every project is knowing what to do tomorrow—how to get started, and what to do the next day and the day after that.

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