I’m a Plumber Despite Just Wanting to be an EMR Blogger

About a month ago, the market finally fell enough for my wife and I to buy our first house. It’s pretty exciting to finally be able to do it since we pretty much tried to buy a house every year since we moved to Las Vegas 6 years ago. Thankfully, we never did until now (although that’s another story).

After purchasing the home, I found myself spending a fair amount of time having to repair a number of things around the house. One day I pretty much spent all day being a plumber as I (and a nice friend) replaced the garbage disposal, fixed a leaking sink, replaced the mechanism (whatever it’s called) in the toilet. Turns out that none of these things are really all that difficult. Although, it definitely had the initial learning curve for me to realize that it’s pretty straightforward once I got into it.

After spending the day as a plumber on my new house, I couldn’t help but think, “I’m doing the job of a plumber and all I want to really do is blog.”

Many of you are probably wondering what any of this has to do with EMR and healthcare IT. Well, I am the EMR blogger who loves analogies (see marriage and divorce, pregnancy, marriage for money, weight loss, and Katherine posted a Lady or the Tiger one that I enjoyed).

The comparison seems obvious to me. There’s a whole lot of doctors out there that really don’t want to be IT project managers. They don’t want to be EMR implementation specialists. They don’t want to be EMR Contract negotiators. They don’t want to be software evaluation specialists. They want to practice medicine by providing care to patients.

Of course, many of you might easily suggest that I could have paid someone else to do the plumbing and I could stick to the EMR blogging like I want. This is absolutely true. I’m sure there were plenty of plumbers that would have been happy to take my money. Unfortunately, they charge an arm and a leg and I like my limbs. Plus, there’s something valuable about having the knowledge of how something that I’m going to use every day is done.

Extend that to doctors. They could certainly hire an EMR consultant to come and help them do their EMR implementation. In fact, my first job doing EMR was partially to solve this issue. They needed someone who could take care of the EMR implementation from top to bottom. If you find the right person, there’s no doubt that it can work very well. However, similar to the plumber, there’s a cost associated with doing that. Plus, if you use a consultant, you’re outsourcing some of the knowledge and expertise that you would gain if you and your staff put your nose to the grindstone and did it yourself.

Plus, while I can’t say that I particularly enjoy plumbing, I have to admit that there really was an amazing feeling of satisfaction knowing that I was able to accomplish a task which I’d never done before. I think many doctors and clinics have had that same sense of satisfaction after implementing an EMR in their office.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Interesting article John, very different from the ones which usually appear on this blog. A number of doctors love playing the role of the EMR Consultant.
    As you said correctly, many doctors feel they will get a lot of personal satisfaction in EMR implementation and (sic) customization.
    However, more often than not, they get deep into the nitty dritties of things and end up messing up the implementation for themselves. It takes an experienced IT Head to realize this from the start and account for the many-itis that the “Super Interested Doctor” will bring.

    I’d like to share this post which we wrote in 2009.

  • Nrip,
    I agree. Certainly many can screw up an implementation. Although, probably more common is that they get knee deep in it and hate the experience.

    Nice article. Lots to chew on there.

    Dr. West,
    I’m glad my thinking was in line then.

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