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Off With Their Heads! May 28, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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Things are beginning to happen at Syringa. Employees are learning how to use emPower, the new time and attendance system, and the managers of that system are learning how to tweak and manipulate it to accommodate all of our foibles and crazy schedules. The time clocks seem to be working now; it was touch and go there at first!

On the Materials Management side of things we are hearing rumbles of a new process and procedure coming down the road. The new system will require certain controls for requisitioning items from inventory. No more calling Lisa on the phone to tell her what we took out of inventory … or telling her in the halls and expecting her to remember!

For some reason scheduling our weekly Cerner calls was a nightmare this week. Technical difficulties, phone troubles, double scheduling rooms and more seemed to be the norm. Plus, vacations, rainstorms, complaints about the number of training sessions, and the full moon all seemed to have an effect.

We have 11 solution areas receiving training, with up to six employees at each meeting. Most of the training is happening on Tuesday and Wednesday, so it can be a challenge to get learners and teachers together in one spot with adequate seating, computers and internet access!

In fact, this week reminds me of a scene from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland. The Queen of Hearts, famous for shouting “Off with their heads!” had organized a croquet game on a field full of ridges and furrows, with hedgehogs for balls and flamingos for mallets.

“Get to your places!” shouted the Queen in a voice of thunder, and all the people began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each other.

The players all played at once, without waiting for turns, quarreling all the while, and fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a very short time the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and shouting ‘Off with his head!’ or ‘Off with her head!’ about once in a minute.

Certainly no one lost their heads this week, and I don’t anticipate that ever happening at Syringa. But we all did rush around trying to play at the same time, tumbling into one another. This will be the norm for the next six or eight weeks. I imagine we will get used to it, and soon all the strangeness, confusion and pressure will abate … or grow to feel quite normal.

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Silos and Farms May 14, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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Image from http://www.toxtown.nlm.nih.gov. Thanks!

I suppose I SHOULD thank Joe for starting this BLOG then assigning me the task of updating it … I suppose I should.

One outcome of this unexpected duty has been further study into Charles Ludwidge Dodgson, aka, Lewis Carroll, the author of not only Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and other whimsical works, but also An Elementary Treatise on Determinants, With Their Application to Simultaneous Linear Equations an Algebraic Equations, and other mathematical works. 

It is hard to believe that the man who composed whimsical and fantastic creatures in Alice in Wonderland, who coined phrases like chortled, burbled and galumphing, and whose prose and poetry spurred an industry in movies, music, theater and merchandise, was also a mathematics professor at Oxford who made significant contributions to the area of determinants in algebra.

Dodgson also loved the theater and opera, and counted among his friends many artists, actors, actresses and photographers. Oh, and yes, he was an accomplished photographer, a preacher, inventor and political activist.

The longer we spend in EHR Land, the more like Charles/Lewis we need to be: comfortable in our own areas of expertise while exploring and embracing other areas.

Cerner’s standard implementation plan requires us to jump into our subject matter silo and stay there. But a small hospital is more like a farm with silos on it. Silos exist in order to store a commodity until such a time as they can be emptied for the good of something else. Rarely does a silo store its commodity forever, and a silo which can’t be emptied is worthless.

While we have to play and work in Cerner’s model during this EHR implementation, we shouldn’t remain in our own areas of “expectedness”. Dashing into the silo for data collection, then scurrying out for process review and change seems a more sensible model.

Shared experience and common knowledge will create a stronger, healthier organization. And this will only result in improved patient care, which will lead to a stronger and healthier community , which will lead to …

… a whole new way to do health care in Idaho County.