The move to electronic medical records and the Federal stimulus funds to assist eligible providers in making that change have resulted in massive and rapid development of products and solutions to help providers move quickly. There are over 300 EMR products, some for hospitals, some for doctor’s offices. I have even been shown a small, modular product that includes only the steps and information necessary to meet the Meaningful Use requirements, built for doctors who are not ready to commit to a full EMR yet.
As I look at the huge changes that are happening, I find myself thinking about how individuals handle change.
To oversimplify, it seems to me that there are people who seek out change and all things new…the thrill-seekers of the world. Then there are those who fight change of anything at all costs…the ultraconservatives of the world. And, of course, there are those in the center who struggle to embrace changes that seem constructive while trying to hold onto what they value in the old . . . a delicate balancing act. How do you deal with change?
I am one of those middle-of-the-road people who likes things to stay mostly the same, as long as people are not hurt by that sameness. I like to do the same things day-to-day in very similar ways. I like to experience lots of things, most in moderation (except for reading), but is difficult for me to do new things just for the sake of doing something new…except for traveling to new places. I do not dive into new technology or new software programs if the old are doing the job for me.
I know, I know . . . those of you who know me as a radical feminist and politically liberal woman will be amazed by those statements. After all, I actively endorse public and personal ‘policies’ that support dramatic social change so more people have the right and ability to seek their happiness and success and to be safe and secure as they do so. Nevertheless, those who work with me know of my strong tendency to say ‘no’ first, and only later to consider the new way of accomplishing something. I am comforted by the familiar and will face the anxiety caused by the new only if I deem the potential benefit to be worth the discomfort.
I share this perspective on myself to encourage you to assess your own responses to change.
Are you the first in your group of colleagues and friends to try out a new assessment technique or therapeutic modality, new computer or software? Do you go to all the workshops because they are fun and stimulating rather than just to meet the requirement for continuing education credits? Have you already started using an EMR or clinical record software product?
Or do you fall on the side of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’? Do you prefer the comfort of seeing clients in the same way you have always done so without feeling the need to explore new methods? Are you determined that you will not move to an EMR? Electronic prescribing? Patient portals? Will you just retire before it is required that all behavioral health professionals participate in the electronic record revolution?
How does your personal approach to change affect your opinions about and participation in your organization’s direction? Are you leading the charge for change or being dragged along by those who are racing ahead? Are you just sitting back and taking a wait-and-see posture rather than jumping into the fray?
Please share your experiences with change and how your personal approach is affecting your view of the move to Electronic Medical Records. Just enter your comments below.