“But I’m not tired.”
“I know, but it’s still bedtime.”
“Can you sit in my room a couple more minutes?”
And with that, I sat back down on Tyler’s floor for the fifth time that night. Thank God for my iPhone, I thought, my trusty source of entertainment and education which helps me pass these vigils. But that night I’d spent so much time on monster guard I was running out of reading material. I’d already gone through just about every article on the Drudge Report and New York Times — I was hankering for something more.
“iBooks,” I thought, “maybe I’ll check that out.”
With necessity slaying the concern that a smart phone is too small for reading books, I downloaded the iBook app. After some exploring, I was pleased to see a number of free books by which I could dip my toe into the ebook waters. You see, though I’ve been a huge fan of audiobooks for years, I’ve never had an ebook reader. The main selling point I’d always heard just wasn’t compelling:
“You can carry hundreds of books around on this little device.”
“Yeah, but I’ve never felt the need to do that.”
Perhaps if someone had said, “You can read a book in your son’s room in the middle of the night while you’re waiting for him to fall asleep,” that would have done the trick a bit sooner. But it never happened, so I was forced to make the jump myself. And jump I did, never expecting to make a discovery as exhilarating as my audiobook conversion years ago.
That discovery came when I realized I could highlight passages and save them all to one central location for easy review. I could also make notes to explain both the context of the saved passages and my takeaway about their meaning. Perhaps the best part, I could email the passage and notes to myself for quick cutting and pasting into one of these columns (with proper attribution, of course). This was awesome!
In order to write something thoughtful every week, I must not only mine my life experiences for lessons learned, but also sift biographies and historical tomes for insights that apply to your work. When it comes to audiobooks, this is largely a function of memory, and when it came to paper books, it was about underlining, transporting the books around, finding the passages, and then keying them into my computer — pretty clunky. The feature that has made me all ebook crazy is that the data mining and communication process has become both simpler and more sophisticated at the same time — brilliant.
Of course, the similarities between taking my book reading electronic and taking your organization’s data electronic are clear — the data becomes much more fungible, more liquid, and thus, exponentially more useful. But I think the more salient takeaway is that I was only converted to ebooks when I discovered a functionality that got me jazzed. I dipped my toe in the water and was able to see for myself how it worked and how cool it was. I’ve heard it before from CIOs — you need to find out what gets each clinician going and show them how EHRs can speak to that. For that reason, it’s important you show each clinician all the things your EHR can do, while at the same time learning what they wish it could do — chances are you’ll find some common ground.
Sitting on Tyler’s floor at 4 AM, I’d often lamented my fate, but now I see something great has come of it. Instead of waiting until your docs stumble upon that cool piece of EHR functionality they can’t stop thinking about, show it to them by showing it all to them. You’ll know you’ve hit the mark when they’re so excited they have trouble sleeping.