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The true measure of an all-star

July 9, 2009
by kate
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Next week, Major League Baseball will hold its annual all-star game, an exhibition that lets the best players in the game — as voted on by fans — showcase their skills while competing alongside their league rivals.

It’s a very cool concept, and the games are often entertaining. But some (including myself) believe that the teams selected aren’t necessarily an accurate portrayal of the game’s top players.

The reasoning behind this is that those who play for big-market teams, with large fan bases and deep pocketed-owners, tend to get the most media coverage, the most all-star votes and the most recognition. Meanwhile, the guys on the small-market teams are often over-looked; that is, until they’re gobbled up by one of the big boys, leaving places like Kansas City for the bright lights of New York or Los Angeles.

For example, someone like Derek Jeter, who has been coasting off a strong reputation (and the fact that he plays for the Yankees) for years, gets the nod, while someone like Miguel Cabrera, who has been tearing the cover off the ball in Detroit, gets bupkis. Those who are lucky enough to play for a top organization — with general managers that utilize seemingly endless resources to surround them with top talent — are at a distinct advantage over someone from a small organization who is just as, if not more, skilled, and can bring more to the table.

The same could be said about the health systems and hospital leaders that often get recognized for successful IT roll-outs, groundbreaking initiatives and other accomplishments. Why is the industry more likely to heap praise on the large health systems that have the resources to pull off bigger implementations and can take more risks? If we really want to learn what it takes to deploy EMR systems, shouldn’t the discussion include places that had less to work with and more to lose?

Don’t get me wrong, I think there are many valuable lessons to be learned from large health systems, and that they do indeed deserve praise on a project well-done. But I also believe it’s important that the smaller organizations don’t get lost in the shuffle.

In the two months, HCI has profiled two CIOs at hospitals with less than 100 beds (both of which are HIMSS Stage 6 hospitals) — Denni McComb of Citizens Memorial Healthcare in Bolivar, Mo., and Bill McQuaid of Parkview Adventist Medical Center in Brunswick, Maine. Both interviews received hundreds of hits from our readers, who were intrigued by how much these small organizations have achieved.

It just goes to show that when it comes to being an all-star, it should be less about who has the most funds and the most fans, and more about who is doing the most with what they have.

(And it also shows that I can relate any issue to sports if I try hard enough.)



This reminds me of a situation with regards to the Health Care Informatics Certification recently obtained by a handful of people. These folks received scholarhips and attended St. Petersburg College. Some had no other type of degree. They completed the 18 credits and obtained the HCI Certificate. However, since they are not RN's, they have no opportunities at this time. Okay, so maybe we are not talking about the same thing, but when it comes down to it, the HCI Certification and jobs being offered are for those with clinical background, mainly RN's. Let's not forget the part with experience. They need to bring back Apprenticeship and the little guy a break. The little guy Im referring to is the person who decided now later in life to go back to school but will take longer to finish and has absolutely no plans to become an RN. He's excited about this new thing called Healthcare Informatics and doesn't know how to get in on the action.


So well said! Love your sports analogies. I applaud HCI for seeking out stories that show all ends of the spectrum, from the superstar, to the "little guy" (or gal).


p.s. Baseball's great, but football's where it's at - don't even get me started about my Dolphins...

Thanks Joe! I appreciate your comments. And I really feel that there are a whole lot of "all-stars" in health IT (and not just CIOs) who may not get the recognition, but who are invaluable to the industry.

Very relevant post, Kate. Thank you.

Recognition for real accomplishments seems to be getting scarcer, as institutions and markets become less stable. There's the good side and the bad side to that, of course. You post made several highly relevant observations, and called attention to the often unrecognized everyday stars that we work with.

Kate, thanksthis is such an apt observation and I can't agree more that the little guys are the ones to watchnot INSTEAD of the big guys, but with as much attention. Because they so often are so creative in making more out of less. As I always say, "I'm not John Glaser!"