The Cat in the Hat’s EHR Philosophy

My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives. (Hedley Lamar—that’s Hedley)

Let’s see if we can tie this collection of thoughts into something that won’t waste your time or mine.

The sun did not shine.  It was too wet to play.  So I sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.  It was too wet to go out and too cold to play ball, so I sat in the house and did nothing at all. (Dr. Seuss)  It was around that time when my wife decided maybe this whole sitting around thing wasn’t optimizing my time, so she decided “we”—which can also be interpreted to mean “me”—should caulk the master shower.  Personally, I thought that why God invented the Yellow Pages, you know, the whole thing about, “Let your fingers do the walking.”

I notice we just blew through an entire paragraph without accomplishing anything.  Sorry.  I got my designer tool belt, the same one I’ve had for twenty years—still looks the same as the day I bought it.  Today’s Roemer Minute—the less you know about what you’re doing, the more important it is to dress the part.  (This does not seem to work with the people whom I’ve told that I’m studying cardiology.)

Tool belt.  Tools—caulk taker-outer, caulk puter-inner.  Paper towels—the need for these will become clear.  Worse case, this is a ten minute job, but if I finish too quickly, there will be additional assignments coming my way.  The trick with caulking is that the success or failure can all come down to how much of the plastic tip you circumcise (can I say that on TV?).  Too much and caulk is everywhere, not enough and it is nowhere.  I made the incision and started to lay down the first bead.  It was quickly apparent that I should have used clear caulk as the white stuff stared back at me like bleached bones—I try and add a little medical flavor wherever I can.

I’ve watched the same shows as you.  Sometimes people spread the caulk with a tool, others prefer a wet finger.  I am equally unskilled with both, so I went with the finger method, smoothing the caulk into the joint.  I wipe my sticky white finger on the paper towel, place the towel on the limestone tile, and return to work, only to notice that although the caulk looks good, my finger created to parallel lines of caulk on either side of the repair, sort of like a snow plow does.  I grab another piece of paper towel and begin the process of trying to remove the excess caulk, finally tossing the paper towel to the side.

Fast forward twenty minutes.  The caulking is done.  My hands are so white it looks like I am wearing a pair of Mickey’s gloves.  (That’s spelled M-O-U-S-E.)  As I wipe my hands with a used piece of towel—there are no more clean ones—I unknowingly step on one of the pieces.  The piece sticks to my shoe.  I retrieve the other pieces and notice that the caulk which had been on the paper towels is now spread all over the tile like someone had a food fight with smores.

Whatever I touched only exacerbated the problem.  I am immediately reminded of the Dr. Seuss book, “The cat in the hat comes back.”  In the book, the cat goes from good intentions to spreading a pink stain over everything—sort of like me with the caulk.

Sometimes good intentions don’t add up to much.  I’d wager that everyone in the EHR process has good intentions.  Sometimes it’s more important to pair good intentions with good skills.  Let’s call EHR one of those sometimes.  Good intentions are okay up to the point when you’re dealing with two or more commas on the cost side.

Here is today’s thought, the one reason you keep coming back to this site. Why did you implement EHR?  The answer will surprise you.  You did it for one simple reason, to get people, doctors and nurses, to do what you want them to do and to do it in a way you want them to do it.  EHR will modify their behavior.  I am sure yours did, but did it modify it in the way you wanted?

Most times it’s good to call a professional before you start tracking caulk across the floor.

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