I recently watched the movie *61 which documents the 1961 Yankees as Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle both chased Babe Ruth’s longstanding record of 60 home runs in a single season. Great movie if you happen to think baseball is a metaphor for America.
Baseball is full of stats and facts like this one — before every game, in the bowels of the stadium, the umpires perform a decades old ritual. When baseballs arrive from the factory, they arrive with the sheen on them that all newly manufactured products have — a sheen that makes it difficult for the pitcher a gain proper grip on the ball.
Baseball tested a number of solutions — tobacco juice, shoe polish, sauces, oils — to fix the problem, but nothing worked. Finally, in the mid-1930’s, a baseball player discovered a solution. He found a mud in the tributary of a river in Palmyra, N.J, that did the trick, and he started marketing the mud to the American League. Since that time, every baseball for every major league team has been rubbed down using this mud.
What in the wide-wide-world-of-sports can this have to do with healthcare? Thanks for asking. It has to do with finding “the right” vendor solution to your EMR/CPOE problems. The problem is that there is no right solution, because there are as many hospitals who swear by the solution you selected as those who do not. Your methodology for taking the sheen off your EHR so clinicians can grasp it is not the one being used by other hospitals who may have found a better way. There are not many things which when they work, work to the exclusion of all others.
Roemer’s Rule One — all complex problems have simple solutions. It is not about the specific EHR … it is about what you choose to do with it. CIOs and CEOs do not select the wrong EHR, they select the wrong implementation strategy.
What do you need? You need the New Jersey mud, the mud that places all reasonable EHRs on the same playing field. Anyone can pick an EHR. Few can figure out the real reason of why the one they have chosen makes a difference.