Is anything timeless? Typewriters, fax machines, three piece suits (HA), PDAs, email accounts you have to pay for, getting film developed, movies rental stores, maps, newspaper classifieds, the landline, long distance charges, public pay phones, VCR’s, phone books, dictionaries and encyclopedias, calling 411, CD’s, getting bills in the mail, buttons (versus touch screen), paper??? I’ll bet you can think of a few things that are either obsolete or well on the way to becoming obsolete……..
Obsolescence is the result of change. Whether that change is good or bad depends on which side of the change you sit. If you are resistant to change or refuse to change, you can also become obsolete, in a way. Good or bad, change occurs. In healthcare we have much change, with some good and some maybe, just maybe, not so well. In the end, we will have to deal with much change whether we want to or not.
In healthcare we endure change, and we also embrace change. Ideally, we take more of an embracing approach. For example, a practice we manage recently moved from a paper-based timekeeping system to one purely dependent on electronics. The benefit is already evident.
Sometimes we get stuck on the “my way is the best way” and I will not succumb to the “new” way of doing things or the “I don’t care what the rules are, I am an owner/ shareholder/physician/ <insert excuse here>, and I can do what I want to do” style of thinking. Unfortunately, in most cases this approach is flawed and a relic of the past. Many changes are now mandated by federal law, state law, court cases or internal policies set by a board of directors for the benefit of the organization as a whole.
Over the past several years, we have helped many practices make changes, from significant improvement in management of electronic health records to the need for enforcement of personnel policies to alternative ways of reducing cost. The real wins from change are when we all act as one and accept there are things we may not like, may disagree with personally or may cost money to effect, yet are necessary.
Healthcare’s history of consistency and adapting to changing times is undeniable. It works, period.
So, when it is time to do something different or to comply with the rules of the day, change is inevitable, and it is necessary.