People like to think they have control over a situation or, at least if bad things happen, they happen for a reason. For the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, some new theories about why the ship sank are surfacing. In an article for the AP, Seth Borenstein has highlighted some of those theories. One has to do with abnormally cold sea air that causes light to bend downward. Another has to do with the alignment of the moon, sun, and Earth and the calving of icebergs off Greenland. In this particular alignment, the moon was closer to the Earth than it had been in 1,400 years. “Anything to avoid gazing critically into the mirror,” he wrote.
Why does the story of the Titanic make me keep thinking about ICD-10, Meaningful Use, Value-based Purchasing, and other programs in which the US Government is trying to control [the sinking of] healthcare? Maybe it’s because so many programs are happening at once (add medical home, ACO, & HIE to the previous list) that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of all of the potential factors and influencers. Certainly the image of a ship (hospital) among icebergs in the currents of the icy North Atlantic (government cost control efforts) is not lost on anyone.
Steven Biel, author of a history of the Titanic, understands why people look for other causes: ”There’s something appealing about retrospectively gaining control over an event that’s centrally about uncertainty and contingency and lack of control.”
No one doubts that the primary cause of the sinking of the Titanic was failure to heed the warning of dangerous waters and going too fast. There was a ship that survived that night called the Californian. She stopped for the night because of the ice. There is a lesson here to be applied to the current state of US healthcare. Hospitals need to use the extension time given for ICD-10 implementation wisely. They need to listen to the weather forecasts and those who have gone before. They need to look critically into the mirror and make sure they are reflecting on the safest, most efficient, and most appropriate future for their hospital.
Slow down. Listen to others. Take control now. Ask for help.
1. Borenstein, S. Titanic’s sinking: Was it more than human folly. The Associated Press, April 2012. [accessible online: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hfLq6ttrUu41VRX4K6MhLRc-1Rzg?docId=a1bc22be02af4971bc7cdd62c3c3e32a ]
Written by Clinical Librarian, Anthelio Healthcare Solutions
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