Who was the person who put in your first EHR system?

The first home I bought was in Denver.  Built in 1898, it lacked so many amenities that it seemed better suited as a log cabin.  There was not a single closet, perhaps because that was a time when Americans were more focused on hunting than gathering.  Compared to today’s McMansions, it was doll-house sized.

It needed work—things like electricity, water—did I mention closets?  I stripped seven coats of paint from the stairs.  Hand-built a fireplace mantle and a deck.  One day I arrived home only to find my dog had eaten through the lath and plaster wall of the space which served as my foyer/family room/ living room-cum-hallway.  I discovered the plaster and lathe hid a fabulous brick wall.

My choice was to patch the small hole, or remove the rest of the plaster.  I knew nothing of patching holes, but felt pretty confident about my demolition skills.  Within an hour I had purchased man-tools; two mauls, chisels, and a sledge hammer.  I worked through dinner and through the night.  The only scary moment came as the steel chisel I was using connected to the wiring of two sconces which were embedded in the plaster.  On cold nights I can still feel the tingling in my left shoulder.

As the first rays of dawn carved their way through the frosted beveled glass of the front door, I wondered why I never before had noticed that the glass was frosted.  I wiped two fingers along the frost.  A fine coating of white powder came off the glass leaving two parallel tracks resembling a cross-country ski trail.  I surveyed the room only to see that the air made it look like I was standing inside of a cloud.  The fine white powder was everywhere, covering my Salvation Army sofa, a semi-matching machine-loomed Oriental rug from the Far East (of Nebraska), a two-ton Sony television, and a component stereo system that had consumed most of my earnings.

Bachelor living can be entertaining.  One of my climbing buddies moved in with me.  The idea was I’d keep the rent low, and he’d help me by maintaining the house.  He didn’t help.  I made a list of duties; he didn’t help.  I left the vacuum in the middle of the floor, for two weeks and he walked around it.  I made him move out, and advertised for a female roommate—an idea I now wish I’d marketed.  A girl from church came over to see the place.  I turned my back on her to allow her to view the house with a degree of privacy.  When I returned I found her on her hands and knees cleaning the bathroom.  I was in love.  It was like having a big sister and mother.  She even asked if it was okay if since she was doing her laundry if she did mine at the same time.  Life was oh so good.

Sometimes when one approach isn’t working it’s real easy to try something else.  And sometimes the something else gives you a solution in the form of a water-walker.  Healthcare IT and EHR aren’t ever going to be one of those sometimes.  There will be no water-walkers, no easy do-overs.  There won’t be anyone walking your hallways talking about their first wildly unsuccessful EHR implementation.  Nobody gets to wear an EHR 2.0 team hat.  Those who fail will become the detritus of holiday party conversations.  Who will be the topic of future holiday parties?  I’m just guessing, but I’m betting it will be those who failed to develop a viable Healthcare IT plan, whoever selected the EHR without developing an RFP, the persons who decided Patient Experience Management (PEM) was a waste of money.  The good news is that with all of those people leaving your organization there will be more shrimp for everyone else to eat.

I’d better go.  I just noticed somebody left the vacuum in the middle of the floor so I need to get cracking before my wife advertises for a female roommate.

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