EHR: Men Behaving Badly

When I lived in Colorado my friend and I decided that instead of running during our lunch break we would sit in on an aerobics class. Our plan was to hide away in the back of the class, watch the ladies, and then head back to the office. No sweat—literally, that was also part of the plan. Our thought process was that if women and other lower life forms could do it, how difficult could it be? We were mainly manly men; excuse the use of alliteration.

Within ten minutes we had to peel ourselves from the floor, barely able to lift our arms and legs. What we’d viewed as an hour of simple stretching coupled with an hour of looking like mainly manly men had reduced us to a pair of whimpering sissy boys. We also learned that if you sit in the back of the class that in order to exit you had to make it past all of the ladies as you dragged your carcass from the room.

Fast forward a few decades. I went to an exercise class called spinning. Sounds a little like ballet. It’s a stationary bike. A large TV hangs on a wall. Once again the room is packed with non-males, including my wife. My take on it is that it’s a bike class for women who’d rather watch Regis and pretend to exercise instead of actually breaking a sweat. What the heck; I was already there, why not humor her. The instructor smirked at me when I asked her to tune the TV to ESPN. She inserted a CD of The Killers, cranked it all the way up, and we started pedaling. Pyramids, intervals, uphill, more uphills. Twenty minutes into it my water bottle was empty, my towel soaked. The ladies, including my wife, were chatting away as though they were walking the dog.

Not everything changes with time. Sometimes it is better to participate than to watch. Sometimes it’s better to watch. Sometimes, no matter how certain one is, one’s certainty is meant to be changed. Sometimes certainty is based on bad ideas. Like the certainty that comes from knowing, “We’re doing just fine, thank you very much.”

There’s a scene in Billy Crystal’s movie, City Slickers, where the guys are on their horses and one remarks, “We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re making really good time.”

What is that everyone holds with such certitude in healthcare IT? Is it the knowledge that even if EHR drops productivity by 20% it was still a good call? Is it that chasing Meaningful Use, even if it means forgoing supporting the business strategy is wise?

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