Jihad Joe: EHR Vendors, What’s not to like?

When competing hypotheses are equal in other respects, the principle recommends selection of the hypothesis that introduces the fewest assumptions and postulates the fewest entities while still sufficiently answering the question. It is in this sense that Occam’s razor is usually understood.  There is no corollary that works with EHR vendors.

What if we look at HIT vendor selection logically?  Have you ever noticed at the grocery store how often you find yourself in the longest checkout line, or when you’re on the highway how often you find yourself in the slowest lane?  Why is that?  Because those are the lines and lanes with the most people, which is why they move the slowest.

If you are asked in which line is Mr. Jones, you would not be able to know for certain, but you would know that the most probable option is the one with the most people in it.  You are not being delusional when you think you are in the slowest lane, you probably are, you and all the people in front of you.  The explanation uses simple logic.  It’s called the anthropic principle– observations of our physical universe must be compatible with the life observed in it.

It can be argued that the business driver which shapes the software selection process of some is the aesthetics of efficiency, a Jihad Joe approach to expediency.  Buy the same system the hospital down the street bought, the one recommended by your golfing buddy, or the one that had the largest booth at the convention.  Or, one can apply the anthropic principle, rely on the reliability of large numbers and simply follow the market leader.

Might work, might not.  My money is on might not.  There’s still plenty of time to do it right.  If that fails, there will always be time to do it wrong later.  Of course, you can always play vendor darts.  If you do, you should sharpen them so they’ll stick better.

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