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Speaking Cerner November 19, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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This adventure into EHR Land has had some amazing twists and turns. Even this week, due to a regional power outage as a result of hurricane force winds here in central Idaho, we ran the hospital for 12 hours on ancillary power. Our team from Cerner was onsite and enjoyed the ambience of working in the cool, dark training room with only the glow of their computer screens for company.

I heard an interesting bit this week when Employee A described Employee B (names changed to protect the innocent) as “beginning to sound like Cerner.”

The comment was intended in jest, but on a serious side it acknowledges that Employee B has reached a deep down, gut level adoption of this major change in the way Syringa works. Some staff members are fully in B’s camp, some are still in A’s, and others are between the two. This transitional period may bring with it significant communication challenges. Will we understand one another as we shift from one way of doing things to another?

Do you remember the poem Jabberwocky in Through the Looking Glass? It is a magical, extraordinarily sophisticated piece of writing by Lewis Carroll which, literally, makes no sense. I encourage you to read the poem, and to whet your whistle, here’s the famous first stanza:

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

I agree with Alice who explained, “It seems very pretty … it seems to fill my head with ideas – only I don’t know exactly what they are!”

Do you, too, almost, but not quite, understand what is being said? The nonsense words are interspersed with expected and excellent English grammar constructions, leading you to believe you understand, but just not quite! And even the nonsense words could be real as they follow expected English spelling patterns. They remind us of other words we know, creating a sense of understanding, but not exactly!

I think this is how the next few weeks will be at Syringa. Discussions will “almost” make sense because they are based in excellent and expected quality patient care. But they may be slightly off keel as employees begin to use the syntax of Cerner while still working in the current model.

Be patient. Get clarification. Don’t get mad. Soon everyone will “sound like Cerner” and the transition will be complete. Until then, remember the Jabberwocky.

To read the poem: 
http://www.jabberwocky.com/carroll/jabber/jabberwocky.html

Swimming In the Pool of Tears November 9, 2010

Posted by Darla in Adventures.
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From wallpaperbase.com.

We had to extend our Go Live date again to accommodate Cerner’s need to complete our final build. We are looking at January 3, 2011 for the new date.

It seems an appropriate time to relate our EHR adventures in this matter to Chapter Two of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, entitled, “The Pool of Tears.”

You remember the scene: Alice landed in Wonderland, but couldn’t follow the White Rabbit through the door into the garden because she was too big. She discovered a bottle labeled DRINK ME, and when she did, she shrank. Unfortunately, she left the key to the garden door up on the tabletop, and, being short, could not reach it. When she found a box of cake labeled EAT ME, she followed the directions exactly, growing almost instantly to nine feet tall.

This change brought Alice to tears. And when you are nine feet tall you shed gallons of tears, enough to create a small ocean. When Alice eventually shrank down again, she nearly drowned in her own pool of salty tears.

When I first read this I wanted to relate the pool of tears to wallowing in self-pity. You know, the “I’m tired of this project, the delays, the disappointments, the change, the hard work, the stress, the ….” ad nauseam.

Then I began to understand that Alice didn’t relate to the pool as if it were a horror. To her, the pool was just a fact, not born of desperation and self-pity, but born of adventure and an eager anticipation of reaching the door to the garden. The tears were the physical manifestation of her own awareness of the changes she had experienced. She jumped in, gathered some friends to help, and swam across to her goal.

So this pool of tears I find myself in right now isn’t about the ad nauseam above, or the new Go Live date. Rather it is the physical proof that Syringa is changing. We can’t quite get to the goal yet because the friends we need to help us across are still working their way through the pool. But we are in the water, and we are looking for them.

This pool of change is really the last conscious effort we have to make to cross to the door that opens into the wonderland of improved healthcare for everyone in Idaho County. Ready for a swim?