Making a Difference


I love working go-lives. I prepare for them like I’m heading out to “The Big Game”.  I uniform myself with my knowledge, my game face, and the desire to really help people be successful.  It’s normal to be anxious when going out on go-live.  However, users are always more anxious than we could ever be.  Our presence signals one of the biggest changes they may ever make in their career.  Some users feel like they will never recover from the change, that they may even fail, and possibly lose their jobs.

I recently finished in a six-month project working on v11 Note and Order Implementation at a major health organization in California.  I worked with users from all levels…staff, nursing, providers and administrators.  However, nothing prepared me for my encounter with a Nurse Practitioner I will call “Marie”.

I entered Marie’s office with my game face and my knowledge.  She looked distressed and angry the moment she laid eyes on me.  “You’re one of those people”.  Marie started nervously jabbing at her keyboard.  “I’m really overwhelmed, and I know we’re supposed to be doing the new stuff today.  I can’t keep up with what I’m doing now, I don’t know what I’m going to do”. 

It certainly wasn’t the reception I was looking for.  I had come bouncing in, all ready to shine, but Marie wasn’t having any of it.  She was nervous, scared and angry, at what I represented, and what she felt I was trying to force on her.

I sat down, and asked her how I could help her.  Marie started waving her hands around.  “My Task List is out of control.  I know it isn’t what you want to help me with, but I have prescriptions to fill and results to look at.  I just can’t look at this Note/Order stuff right now”.

I took a deep breath, and told Marie I was there to help her, in any way I could.  It didn’t matter if we worked on Notes/Orders, I wanted her to feel better about her work.  I told her I would sit with her, and she could ask me her questions when she was ready.

The ability to help people is what drives me as a consultant.  I get frustrated when I can’t reach people, and reassure them that AEHR isn’t their enemy, but their friend, that the system is good for medicine and good for patients.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to reach this user, or leave her office without some serious bruises to my ego.  I don’t give up very easily, so I stayed put.

We started looking at the phone calls in her Task List; most were related to renewal requests for medications already in the patient chart.  She began to enter a new prescription.  I gently suggested to Marie that it wasn’t necessary to enter a new prescription every time, that she could find the existing medication in the chart and utilize the “Renew with Changes” button.  This would enable her to build a renewal history for the patient, as well as shorten the time it took her to work her prescriptions.  Marie turned to me slowly, raising her voice.  “You have got to be kidding me…that’s all I have to do?”

I prepared myself to be chewed out.

Instead…Marie’s eyes teared up as she said, “You have changed my life forever”.  She continued to say that she was certain that someone had likely explained this to her before, but that she had dreaded the change to an electronic chart so much, she had been unable to absorb much of the previous training provided to her.  I showed her a few other system tips…working from her Worklist, how to utilize the QuickChart, how to navigate through chart documents quickly.

These may seem to be simple, obvious system features, but to a user overwhelmed by a major career change, they are easily missed.  The lesson I learned was this:  You never know when or how you can make a difference to someone, by hanging tough with an unpredictable user, and by being patient.

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