I remember the first time I entered their home I was taken aback by the clutter. Spent and wet leaves and small branches were strewn across the floors and furniture. Black Hefty trash bags stood against the walls filled with last year’s leaves. Dozens of bright orange buckets from Home Depot sat beneath the windows. The house always felt cold, very cold. After a while I learned to act normally around the clutter.
There came a time however when I simply had to ask, “Why all the buckets? What’s the deal with the leaves?”
“We try hard to keep the place neat,” she replied.
“Where does it all come from?” I asked.
I looked at her somewhat askance. “I’m not sure I follow,” I replied as I began to feel uneasy.
“It’s not like we like living this way; the water, the cold, the mess. It costs a fortune to heat this place.
And, the constant bother of emptying the buckets, and the sweeping of the leaves.”
“Why don’t you shut your windows? It seems like that would solve a lot of your problems.”
She looked like I had just tossed her cat in a blender.
When you see something abnormal often enough it becomes normal. Sort of like in the movie The Stepford Wives. Sort of like all the scurrying around Meaningful Use. The normal has been subsumed by the abnormal, and in doing so has created an entire entity which is slowing devouring the resources of the organization.
Are you kidding me? I wish. It’s much easier to see this as a consultant than it is if you are drinking the Kool Aid on a daily basis. When I talk with hospital executives they are marching headstrong into the Meaningful Use abyss.
It makes me feel like I must be the only one in the room who doesn’t get it—again with The Stepford Wives.
If I ask about it they always have an answer. It all boils down to something like, “We simply can’t turn down the money.” They say that with a straight face as though they are waiting to see if I will drink the Kool Aid. It’s gotten to the point where no matter how goofy things get, as long as they are consistently goofy, they are not goofy at all.
This is the mindset that enables leaders to be fooled by their own activity. Busy replaces thinking.
Paul, you might be interested in my local hospital grand rounds presentation on meaningful use. It’s sort of a Glenn Beck type look at the real forces that brought us meaningful use. The URL is this: http://www.box.net/shared/f3jicp7l86q2sgbth762
Al Borges MD
I really enjoyed reading that Al. I think it should be required reading in the C-suite dining room. Here is a presentation I have delivered at Health 2.0 and the HFMA. Yours has more detail, mine has more cynicism. http://www.slideshare.net/paulroemer/nyc-health-20