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Patience, Please: Implementation In Progress

By Nadine Robin, Health IT Program Director

It happened to me again.

I walked in smiling, 10 minutes early for my 3:10 appointment. The receptionist looked up from her computer screen as I reached for the pen to sign in, and said, "You don't need to sign in, but please read the signs."

They were written like dozens of others I've seen over the last six years – a notice that the organization had just installed a new EHR with an apology for any delays. I smiled and the REC Director/EHR Champion/HIT is Wonderful person came out of me (I really can't stop it sometimes), and replied, "Your signs don't worry me. I've been involved with EHR implementations for the last six years. You're doing a great job– a couple more weeks and you will be feeling better about all of it."

She looked up skeptically – I smiled and took a seat.

And waited.

My appointment had been put on the wrong day's calendar, and the system wouldn't allow her to add me as a walk-in. She was frustrated. I kept smiling – even offered to reschedule if it would be easier for her.

But in that moment, I saw a familiar look... the fierce determination of someone who knew that she had the staffing to take care of the patient. This woman had no intention of letting something new get the best of her.

My appointment took a little (okay, a lot) longer that day than I had planned. But as I left, I turned back to see she and her co-worker waving goodbye to me. I returned the wave and said, "Have a great day! You are both doing wonderful!"

I guess my passion for health IT overflows sometimes. It's become personal to me when my own providers are going through their EHR transition, and I can only hope that a little encouragement from me will help to get them over a rough spot. I understand (and hope that my fellow patients also understand) that the complete implementation of their technology means my results will be in my patient portal in days, just waiting to be shared with my other providers.

So to all of you who have struggled (or are struggling) through an implementation or upgrade this year, and to all of you facing one in the near future, if neither I nor your patients have told you, here's a shout-out to you.

Hang in there - you are doing a wonderful job!

It's going to get better!

And thank you.
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