An ode to healthcare information technology modernization
by Lisa Suennen, stealing liberally from Clement Clarke Moore
‘Twas the night before Christmas, in the ER of St. Strauss,
Not a doctor was working, not even House;
The IVs were hung by the bedsides with care,
In hopes that some pain meds soon would be there;
The patients were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of discharge danced in their heads;
And nurses in scrubs, washed their hands at the taps,
And checked out the charts to ensure no care gaps,
When out on the unit there arose such a clatter,
Everyone raced to see what was the matter.
To the nurse station they flew like a flash,
And witnessed the CFO counting his cash;
The IT incentives came with a red, white and blue bow,
And the luster of ARRA coin twinkled and glowed.
When, what to our wondering eyes did appear,
But a wild-eyed CIO and eight engineers.
With an old printer driver, and mice that go click,
They knew in a moment it was likely Epic.
Or McKesson or Cerner or Meditech to name
just a few companies that played the CIO’s game.
“Now, EMR! Now, EHR! Now, CPOE and Billing!
By Friday I’ve got to get all of you working!
From the OR to the pharmacy to the ward down the hall!
We must figure out interoperability for all!”
With carrots to dangle by the CEO’s eye,
While giving him the chance to improve bottom line,
Out to the hospitals the vendors they flew,
Spurred by 26 billion in incentives that Congress passed through.
And then, in a twinkling, it was meaningful use,
And we knew then that the HITECH Act was in town,
‘Cause the CIO and his team got even more tightly wound.
They were buried by rules, core objectives, regulations,
With more players involved than the United Nations;
Berwick, Sebelius, Chopra and Park,
Blumenthal dragging HIT out of the dark.
Certification! Right now! You must comply really quick!
Missing these incentives will make the C-Suite quite sick!
The CIO’s mouth formed the shape of an “O,”
And his eyes bugged out like he’d just seen a ghost;
His blood pressure rose as he gnashed his teeth,
Smoke spewed from his ears as he expressed disbelief;
“You expect me to implement all this by when?
Thank god those penalties don’t start in 2010!”
Then he got it together and headed to HIMSS,
Looking for systems that would save his limbs;
“Does anyone here have a way to be sure,
My data can be shared but stays safe and secure?”
Well, you’ve been to HIMSS, everyone has a story,
“Trust me,” they say, “my product will bring you glory.”
The CIO thought his head might explode;
“Oy vey,” he said, “modernization really blows.”
He headed back home, to his team gave a shout,
And away they all flew saying, “We’ll figure it out.”
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“If it’s better for patients it must be alright.”
Happy Holidays Everyone!