In a recent note, I discussed plans for the Beaker go-live at Allina Health and speculated about the chances of its success (see: Allina Health Begins a Phased Rollout of Epic's Beaker LIS). At the end of the note, I made the following prediction :
My prediction is the following: After about two years, Allina will be limping along on a still inadequate Beaker plus ancillary software products. It will then declare victory. Total lab operations will take much longer to recover from this trauma.
A reader, Property Rights, submitted the following, similar comment:
...We have the same speculation that Allina will be limping along on a still inadequate Beaker plus ancillary software products. It will then declare victory.
Let's examine the scenario whereby the Allina Beaker go-live turns out to be truly messy and lab/hospital management is required to throw money/FTEs at the problems to try to make them go away. Allina lab and hospital executives then declare victory but with continuing problems and a swollen lab budget. How do other lab executives, who may themselves be considering Beaker, get to the truth? I think that they will never hear about these problems through normal, formal channels. In fact, such pronouncements and discussions would be prohibited by the Epic contract.
I think have an answer to this question. All that one needs to do is pursue the "Third Shift Law." This law runs something like this: If you want to know the what is going on in any laboratory, all you need to do is call a medical technologist who is working the third shift and ask him or her how things are going. Such an individual preferably has been working for the lab for five years or more and holds a supervisory position.
Individuals working the third lab shift tend to be independent, individualistic, and brutally honest. They gravitate to third shift work because they prefer not to deal with the day-to-day lab politics and back-biting of the other two shifts. The lab managers and day supervisors rarely have conversations with these employees so they tend to enjoy being asked about their opinions.
If you can get one such person on the phone, simply ask how the Beaker install is going and he or she will tell you. Problem solved!