Well hello…it’s been a couple months since I was inspired to relate a blog topic to one of my favorite little commercial series. I’m sure by now you have seen these series of commercials that feature that “banker guy” and those adorable little kids. He always finds a way to break one of those little hearts! But for some reason I find a way to relate these spots to my six years of professional IT Healthcare experience. So this most recent commercial spot begins with the banker guy standing in front of an ice cream stand with this first little red-headed boy on the scene who asks, “Can I have an ice cream cone?” The banker guy says, “This ice cream is only for the “new” kids.” Then a second little boy arrives skipping forward on the scene and he also asks, “Can I have an ice cream cone? ” The banker guy responds to this second little boy, “Yes, do you want vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry?…Ok, so here is a chocolate cone just for you,”and hands it to the second little boy. The first boy says “What about me? I’m also new!” The banker quips he’s “new-er.” So the scene closes with the first little boy sadly sitting alongside the second little boy who is happily eating his chocolate ice cream cone…(The bank’s closing tag line continues says ”Everybody knows it’s not right to treat people unfairly…” as the commercial ends.)
Many EMR Implementation projects begin with hospital facility management hiring their own full time employee (FTE) staff from departments within. They soon discover that this staff, although very knowledgeable about their facilities operations, must first get trained and/or certified by the EMR vendor application company. My road to EMR vendor certification included: traveling to the EMR vendor’s training facility for EMR class attendance, subsequent months of intense EMR course study, project submission, and exam completion (with an obligation to pass based on an minimum overall score). All of this can take an average of 3-6 months before the staff member is fully capable to complete most EMR task assignments. Professionally, I know how it feels to get the ice cream cone and not get the ice cream cone at first. It’s been six years since I first began my EMR Healthcare IT career as a full-time employee (FTE), specifically focused on Epic® Systems, Corporation EMR Clinical System Applications…and now here I am as a traveling EMR “Road Warrior”. During this time I have witnessed and experienced both sides of the fence regarding many workplace situations prevailing around the FTE and “new-er” staff.
So most times during this transitional period, hospital facility management must resort to supplementing their FTE staff “in training” with more experienced, vendor certified EMR consultants, hence the “new-er” staff. Although certain aspects of the new-er IT professional’s pay rate, expense account, bonuses, and/or other perks they may have negotiated with their recruiting agency, may not be discussed with the FTE staff…these things have a way of getting known. So now here is the FTE staff feeling a little worn out, but happy with their recently earned EMR vendor certification…all shiny and newly framed. In comes the new-er consultant who is looked upon with such reverence and high regard due to his/her experience and is perceived by management as the ones to “‘save the day” and lead the FTE staff to successful EMR implementation. I’m sure by now you can just about imagine what this type of working environment can lead too! I sure can…I’ve been on both sides of the fence, since the beginning of my EMR Implementation career began six years ago. So here is my advice, first to the new-er ones joining the FTE staff . Yes, you have the experience and your EMR vendor certification…but this staff most likely has the knowledge about the hospital and/or clinic facility you will greatly require. Make sure you do not flaunt your consultant “perks” and/or talents in the face of these hardworking folks who want to get were you are. Secondly, to the newly certified FTE staff: most likely you made it through some intense training and you should feel good that you were selected and/or hired by your management for this accomplishment. You may need to swallow your pride for a few months and just “follow the leader,” learn, and work intensely at applying your acquired skills to this EMR Implementation environment…it takes an average of three months to implement a ambulatory primary care or specialty clinic and up to 12 to 18 months to implement an acute care (hospital) facility. Once these projects get going, everyone must hit the ground running…just survive through a couple of these and you will be surprised at how much you will become EMR knowledgeable, capable, and marketable. (Those of you out there who been through this, know what I’m talking about!!!)
Currently I’m part of an EMR Implementation team for which we are implementing (rolling-out) several Ambulatory Cardiology, Surgery, and Orthopedic specialty clinics. Our team consists of several experienced and EMR Certified consultants like myself, a few newly – certified FTEs, and several others in between…believe me we all bring something to the table. Four months since the beginning of these project tasks, that consist of workflow analysis, system creation and build, user validation, we are now in the system application testing phase. Recently on a particular day, I mentioned to our Physician Champion/Clinical Project Director, “Doc, it takes a village” and he responded, “More like a small army!”…but more information about how this entire EMR Implementation process works is a good topic for my next blog…stay tuned!