The Pyramid of Possibility: explaining informatics to others

Use this to explain to your colleagues that some requests are easy and others might just be impossible.

Have you ever been asked by a colleague: “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if Epic could just do ___ ?”

Some recent examples from my life:

  • Show me my last progress note so I don’t have to hunt for it (Yes, it does that, right here in the Story Board, I can show you in 2 minutes).
  • Find all the open appointments to put a patient into a provider’s schedule, quickly at a glance (Yes, Epic top tool bar: Provider Calendar does that)
  • Remind me of the pre-op scrub protocol (Yes, we can build that into an order set but you have to develop consensus, that will take YOU weeks of discussion)
  • Fund a Sprint EHR optimization team to teach everyone efficient work tools (sure, took me 2 years of convincing leadership to invest in a Sprint team)
  • I want to bill insurance for responding to online messages WITHOUT a co-pay (Welllll, you’ll need to change Federal and Medicare rules, so that will be YEARS TO NEVER).

Yes, we know our colleagues have great ideas and they’re well intentioned, but only IT and informatics people have a sense of what it will REALLY TAKE. So, I made this pyramid to show people, examples of how an tiny, itty-bitty, innocent request can turn out to be nearly nothing or an ENORMOUS MONSTER.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b6a7dn1hix5kf6j/2022%20EHR%20Pyramid%20of%20Possibility%20CTL.pdf?dl=0

CMIO’s take? Hope you like it and maybe find it useful. Did you make a better version? Let me know!

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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