What if “they” get hit by a bus?

A little while back I asked my wife what she would do with all my blogs if I was hit by the proverbial “bus.” Her answer made me laugh. She said, she’d log into my blogs and post that I had passed away and that if readers of the site would like to support my wife and kids they could do so using the PayPal button below. I guess it’s a good thing I taught my wife how to blog. I hope she never has to post that PayPal button.

However, I’ve always loved the question of “what are you going to do if they get hit by a bus?” The “they” can be replaced by all sorts of things. Each organization will have a different set of “they’s”. Remember that the buses can come in all sorts of ways: re-location, new job, injury, illness, change of lifestyle, etc etc etc.

For example, if I’m a clinic and I have one doctor that is our EHR master, I might ask the question of what our clinic will do if that EHR master is no longer around.

How do you solve the problem of individual knowledge? I’ve seen it best approached in two ways: dual training or documentation. Personally I prefer the later to the former. Unless it’s a task that multiple people can perform regularly. The problem with dual training is that you train someone on how to do it, but if they don’t get to do it for a long time to come then they’re very likely to forget. That’s why documentation is better than dual training in most instances. Plus, once you have the documentation, you can use it to perform the dual training. It’s a great way to test how good your documentation really is.

These same questions apply to the EHR vendors that read this blog. How would your EHR software do if a key person in your organization was “hit by a bus?” We could also look at it from an EHR selection perspective. How would your EHR support be impacted if your EHR vendor lost their main EHR support person? What if the lead developer of the EHR left the company? This is sometimes hard information to obtain, but these were questions I knew the answer to with the EHR I supported for over 5 years. These are things worth considering.

How cool would it be for an EHR vendor to do a blog post about how they’d answer the question of how they’ve prepared their organization for the “hit by a bus” problem? I’d respect that EHR vendor: warts and all.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of 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.


  • Like anything:
    A biz succession plan, etc, you need to have a plan.

    We create for our clients a “brain book” so anybody can step in and take over on the HIPAA side of things.

  • I also hope your wife never has to post the PayPal button but it is a great question. It used to be that we had masters in particular fields. Some one that could build the whole car and not just part of it. Then along came just in time training and workers in car plants could pop in the VHS tapes (remember those) and see a video of a particular process.

    Since then we have had E Learning (Internet), M Learning (Mobile devices) and now we have S Learning (Social Media) This is fairly new but Dell just posted some information about it this week.

    The EMR company I am involved with http://mitochonsystems.com has short YouTube videos to help with the “how do I do it?” issues. A manual, soft copy, is provided for those more comfortable reading documentation, and given the move to S Learning I can see we will have an online community helping each other to do a better job in the near future.

    Given the different generations involved in health care there is not one way to cover everything. Keeping up to speed on what is going on in the training and development community should keep everyone on track.

    That is until the “next big thing” comes along.

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