“You have to get them on the same schedule — right away.”
When you’re expecting twins, people love to dispense advice. And while I can take or leave some of the many suggestions I’ve heard, I always listen carefully when it’s a parent of twins — someone who’s been in the trenches.
But when I heard that particular piece of advice, I was skeptical.
“So when one baby wakes up ready to be fed, I’m supposed to wake up the other one, no matter how peacefully he or she is sleeping? Why on earth would a sane person do that?”
The answer is actually very simple. Feeding both babies at the same time — a skill that will no doubt take some time to master — helps to align their clocks so that they get accustomed to eating at the same time. This method will also allow my husband and I to get at least some shuteye, whereas feeding one baby after the other will leave very little time for sleep — and make for some very cranky parents.
So while it may be tempting to let a sleeping baby lie, it’s better to wake him or her up, because what may be painful in the short-term — in our case, learning how to administer simultaneous bottle feeds — will pay dividends in the long run.
Sometimes, immediate needs must take a backseat. It’s a concept that doesn’t always fly in a society where instant gratification seems to reign supreme, but it’s one that is necessary if you want to achieve long-term success with any strategy. And healthcare IT is no exception.
The idea of balancing short-term demands with long-term needs is something many CIOs grapple with on a daily basis. But if you want your organization to not just survive, but thrive, you have to find a way to stick to your guns, says Rick Schooler. In a recent interview with healthsystemCIO.com, Schooler — longtime CIO at Orlando Health and recent recipient of the CHIME/HIMSS CIO of the Year Award — shares his thoughts on the tyranny of the urgent, a concept that “compels you to do the things you believe you have to do in the moment and takes your focus and attention away from the things you should be doing for the future.”
Inevitably, when you’re trying to focus on a big project like an EHR rollout, minor issues are going to surface that can impede your progress, making it critical that CIOs are able to stay on track. “Somebody always has something that’s just on fire and has to be addressed,” says Schooler. “You’ve got to figure out how to deal with the tyranny of the urgent; how to deal with the immediate needs and concerns and ‘gotta-do’s,’ many of which end up being things you don’t necessarily ‘have to do,’ but in the moment, with the emotions involved and the stress involved, people are like, ‘Hey, I have to have this right now.’”
A good leader has to be able to prioritize in situations like these, he says. In Schooler’s case, the long-term objective that can’t afford to lose momentum is an enterprise-wide data warehousing project that was initiated a few years ago. Having a solid data platform enables an organization to establish a single source of truth from which users can perform analytics and run queries and reports. But in many cases, data warehousing is a project that gets pushed to the backburner to make way for what may seem like more pressing needs. It’s “a great example of something that an organization should be doing but gets distracted in the moment, and never quite seems to get there,” he notes.
The harsh reality is that “to thrive in healthcare, you’re going to have to be effective at enterprise-level analytics,” Schooler says, even if that means letting a few “fires” simmer for a while. As CIO, it’s your job to push projects like this — which play a pivotal role in an organization’s long-term success — forward, even if it means foregoing immediate needs.
Fending off today’s fires so you can stick to the strategically critical tasks at hand isn’t easy, but then again, neither is mustering up the courage to awake a sleeping infant. At 3 a.m., I’m going to think of Schooler, and, hopefully, get that tough call right