Climbing the Meaningful Use Mountain

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , May 8, 2012

In the healthcare world, our equivalent of these bottlenecks is the handful of vendors implementing most of the Meaningful Use electronic medical records in software. Some are like the toughest mountain guides, demanding much preparation on the part of their customers before they can even get their number on the waiting list.

Other vendors may be bogged down, spending 80 percent of their effort on a small number of providers who bring a disorganized hodgepodge of existing systems to the table and expect the vendor to work miracles, while well-prepared providers languish, waiting for their numbers to be called.

In the tough and unforgiving mountains, miracles are few and far between. Teams can only do so much climbing each day. In tech, it's been demonstrable for nearly 50 years that adding people to a software development project doesn't even linearly improve productivity of that project. The reality is somewhere far shorter than that.

So, what to do? Should we really slow down the Meaningful Use movement to allow the weaker climbers to catch up?

It all depends on what you define as success.

In mountain climbing, only one climber in each expedition is going to be first to the top. That climber will often garner all the accolades while fellow climbers, maybe only a few minutes behind, often play second fiddle in the media and the history books.

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