Today, I’m about ready to embark on a fun experience. No, I’m not heading to TEDMED or HIMSS or some other conference chalk full of inspiration, training, and improvement. Instead of me leaving somewhere, my wife is heading off with her two best girlfriends to a Women’s Conference which should be an amazing mix of practical, spiritual, and inspirational.
I’m really excited for her to have the opportunity that I get regularly to improve myself and expand my mind. My wife is a brave stay at home mom. She does a tremendous job raising our four children. However, as any stay at home mom can attest, sometimes you need to get out, have conversations with adults, and be something other than mom. I’m excited for the renewal that she’s sure to find from attending this Women’s Conference.
As I ponder on the experience my wife is about to have, I think many in the EHR and healthcare IT world need something very similar. Far too often we get overwhelmed by the little day to day heartache of using an EMR. The EMR that “never works” can be a real drag. The EHR popup message that does’t make any sense. The annoying extra click in your EMR. Even just the tedious repetition of documentation. All of these things are little until you deal with them day after day and patient after patient. Sounds a bit like a mother having to feed the children, pickup the toys, brush the hair, etc over and over again. Individually it’s nothing, but taken together can be overwhelming.
One of the best ways to deal with what I’ll call EMR depression is to have regular opportunities for inspiration, training and improvement. One method to deal with it can be regular meetings focused not on the challenges of EMR, but instead on the ways EMR can make your life and patients’ lives better. You can share stories of EMR success and even possible lives saved. It’s not unlike me sitting down with my wife discussing the beautiful things our children do. It’s so easy to focus on the negative that we often forget to talk about the positive.
Another way is to head to a conference that will inspire you about what’s possible. It’s amazing what an inspiring speaker can do to change how you enjoy your work. Sure, it’s great to go to a session talking about the tactical details of meaningful use. However, you also want to make time to hear from someone like Dr. Jen Brull who can tell you her practical approach to improving the health of her patients. There’s nothing more inspiring than hearing her story and then seeing the face of the patient whose life she saved. There’s a time for tactical, but it can’t crowd out the inspirational. In some cases you can even get both. I hope that’s what happens for my wife this week.
Yes, for those reading between the lines, my wife attending this conference means for the next 5 days I’m going to be home alone caring for my 4 children (age 9 months to 9 years). A daunting task for anybody. However, it turns out the next 5 days with my children will be the best form of inspiration for me. In my whirlwind life of blog posts, tweets, conferences, emails, comments, interviews, and meetings, my best inspiration to do what I do can be the innocent laugh of my 9 month old, the funny phrases of my 3 year old, the inquisitive questioning of my 6 year old, and the creativity of my 9 year old. Yes, inspiration is all around us if we take the time to be inspired.