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Intelligent Healthcare Information Integration 8/10/09

August 9, 2009 News No Comments

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eye(s)
or The Window to the EHR Soul

I’ll betcha Ben Johnson, back in 1616, never dreamed his sweet, though somewhat melancholic “To Celia” would ever become the basis for the musings about a relationship with a machine. Yet, here it is almost 500 years later and as I stare into the giant baby blue of the EHR with whom I have become so enamored (or at least familiar), that is the love song I hear swimming betwixt my ears.

It isn’t just the soulless machine or LCD whom I find myself adoring in virtual and intellectual romance; it is the essence within which drives my love and from which her true beauty derives. It is her spirit, her life force, her anima, her élan vital. It is her software GUI, from her EHR underpinnings, which inspires my adoration and supplies the muse to my mental poetry – for she, her eye, is beautiful.

The first thing that attracted me to her was her eye. Beautiful blue with gorgeous splashes of color, clear whites with few lines, and an aura of serene simplicity which almost belied the wonderful depth of her inner complexities. She was stunning. Still is.

She is still the only eye I want to look into every working day. She still fulfills most of my manly medical needs. The soul I see within as I am constantly drawn to her never-wavering gaze each day is still one of passionate concern trying to be my all, to meet my every desire. Her countenance still pleases my gaze, her eye still beauteous to mine.

But, just as with every great love, time and familiarity reveal undeniable cracks in the veneer of loveliness which first bedazzled completely. Not that she isn’t still beautiful and not that there is another out there who has caused my eyes to wander; it’s just that all of the promise, both implied and assumed, never quite matches fully with time-revealed reality. The talents presumed and the best-foot-forward finesse of the early infatuation days yield to the actuality of the true.

Will this beautiful eye, this rectangular optical window to the true soul of my EHR machine, ever fulfill all of my desires? Will she grow with the refinement of age and experience into the dream with which my mind’s eye beheld her when infatuation first flowered?

Or, will I join the ranks of the unfaithful, becoming enamored by the sultry lines and sinuous curves of a younger, newer beauty? Will one with the flexibility of youth and the promise of new love distract my eye from my first, now aging, love?

Frankly, I don’t know. Our cohabitation, after all, is solely at my discretion. I do know that it was love at first sight with my first EHR love. The beautiful GUI, her “eye,” drew me in helplessly. Her understanding of my needs was deep, but her visual splendor captured my soul. This was an eye I knew I could gladly gaze into daily for many, many years to come. (Others before – and most, so far, since – appear lifeless and cold and uncaring of my visual happiness.)

While many are perhaps far more pragmatically oriented, I believe beauty engages us all. If you’re going to spend years, perhaps a professional lifetime, gazing upon a quadrangular “eye” to your EHR machine’s soul, it should be a gaze returning pleasure and visual “vavoom.” Superior EHR GUI design can lead to love.

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Dr. Gregg Alexander is a grunt-in-the-trenches pediatrician and geek. His personal manifesto home page…er..blog…yeh, that’s it, his blog – and he – can be reached through http://madisonpediatric.com or doc@madisonpediatric.com.

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