EHR: How Important is Due Diligence?

What was your first car?  Mine was a 60’ something Corvair–$300.  Four doors, black vinyl bench seating that required hours of hand-stitching to hide the slash marks made by the serial killer who was the prior owner, an AM and a radio, push-button transmission located on the dash.  Maroon-ish.  Fifty miles to the quart of oil—I carried a case of oil in the trunk.  One bonus feature was the smoke screen it provided to help me elude potential terrorists.

I am far from mechanically inclined.  In high school I failed the ASVAB, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery—the put the round peg in the round hole test.  Just to understand how un-complex the Corvair was, I, who hardly knows how to work the radio in a new car, rebuilt the Corvair’s alternator—must not have had many working parts.  Due the the excessive amount of rusting I could see the street from the driver’s side foot well.

However, it had one thing going for it; turning the key often made it go—at least for the first three or four months.  Serves me right.  The guy selling the car pitched it as a date-mobile, alluding to the bench front seat.  Not wanting to look stupid, I bought it.  Pretty poor due diligence.  An impulse purchase to meet what I felt was a social imperative—a lean, mean, dating machine.

The last time I made a good impulse purchase was an ice cream sandwich on a hundred degree day.  Most of my other impulse decisions could have used some good data.  The lack of good data falls on one person, me.

How good is the data you have for deciding to implement an EHR?  In selecting an EHR?  Did you perform the necessary due diligence?  How do you know?  Gathering good data is tedious, and it can lack intellectual stimulation.  I think it affects the same side of our brain as when our better half asks us to stop and ask someone for directions; we like being impulsive, and have built a career based on having made decisions on good hunches.

The difference between you buying and EHR and me buying a clunker is that when I learned I’d made a poor decision I was able to buy a different car.  You can’t do that with an EHR that has more zeros in the price tag than the national deficit.  Plenty of hospitals are on EHR 2.0–they also happen to be on CIO 2.0. while CIO 1.0 is out shopping for a Corvair.

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