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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

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