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An Ugly Baby July 27, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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In one of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice found herself trying to comfort the Duchess’s baby. Upon closer inspection, however, the baby in her arms proved to be a pig which eventually wandered quietly away. Later, in conversation with the Cheshire Cat, Alice was asked, “By the by, what became of the baby?”

“It turned into a pig,” Alice answered.

“I thought it would,” was the Cheshire Cat’s rejoinder.

This last week in EHR Land felt a lot like the EHR Baby we’ve been holding became Another Creature all together. Up to this point, the process has been relatively painless, but somewhere, in the back of our minds, has been a feeling that the implementation could not possibly go as smoothly as all that.

And the process has met its first major snag. We discovered that a major piece of medical equipment cannot talk to Cerner, a critical issue at this late stage of implementation. I wish this information had been discovered back in April during the Data Collection process, but “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

The hardware and technical pieces have been difficult all along. Cerner has asked me to lift the back legs of lab equipment to check gender (not as easy as it sounds!), find a gateway (whatever THAT is), determine what backend and frontend printers we need, and more!

Backend printer? Is that like sitting on copy machine and pressing START?

The cute EHR Baby finally turned a little ugly.

Cerner’s wisdom that “we are where we are, and must move forward from this point” is true, but we don’t have to like it.

What I WOULD like is this new EHR Creature to quietly and contentedly walk away, just like in the fairy tale. Since that doesn’t sound possible, I guess we will have to pull up our boots and ride this bronco to the buzzer.

Open Minded Knowledge Transfer July 9, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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Tiger lilly thanks to http://www.eecs.northwestern.edu

The last few weeks have been quite a ride here in EHR land. Since reaching the halfway point in the implementation, this last half of the project is like riding down a rollercoaster drop after the slow ascent to the top. Hold on, everyone! We are on our way to improved health care for everyone in Idaho County!

Every week between now and Go Live on October 1 we will have teams of people from ePartners, emPower and Cerner onsite. They are validating the data we’ve provided over the last several months, confirming that it is correct, in the right places, and actually “works” for us within the software. Additionally, they are providing training to our Super Users and key end users.

This week over 30 employees spent two and three days in training with their Cerner solution architects. Once Cerner leaves, these Super Users will continue to practice their new skills in our TRAIN DOMAIN, an online training environment. By the time End User training rolls around in September, these Super Users will know the system inside and out. They will, according to Cerner, perform the “knowledge transfer” process to others. In Syringa speak, that means they will train and teach others to use the system.

The term knowledge transfer reminds me of Alice in Through the Looking Glass, when she found her way to a garden full of talking flowers. Once Alice adjusted her preconceived notion that flowers are not supposed to speak to people, she had a nice conversation about who cared for the flowers. The answer: A tree in the middle of the garden. When any danger came near, it “barked” and that’s why its branches were called “boughs”. Interesting bit of Knowledge Transfer, there, eh?

Then Alice asked the Tiger Lily how it was that the flowers could speak so nicely. The Tiger Lily had Alice put her hand upon the ground. It was very hard.

“In most gardens,” the Tiger Lily said, “they make the beds too soft – so that the flowers are always asleep.”

An open mind and heart will obviously be a great help in the learning process. Alice, while she had some notion of flowers in her mind, was able to suspend her version of “right way flowers should behave” in order to learn something new.

So it will be with us learning our new software, processes and procedures. With an eye to improving health care for our patients, we can learn new ways to perform old tasks which are more efficient and safe – as long as we allow ourselves to rethink our “this is the way we’ve always done it” ideas. This is our opportunity to shape how health care in the future will look, act and feel.