Our hospital has amazing technology and we are very advanced when it comes to the use of the electronic medical record or EMR. The EMR contains all kinds of sensitive patient data that we have a responsibility to protect. One of the ways we protect the data is by requiring users to change their password every 90 days. My bank requires the same for my online accounts as do several other online services I use.
I hate changing my password and for the first week after I change it I continually type in my old password. My fingers are programmed to type the password I’ve been using for the past three months but eventually I retrain them and the new password becomes habit.
Change isn’t easy but it’s necessary. The reason for the password change in the EMR isn’t because someone in IT wants a laugh, it’s for the safety and protection of our patients and the medical data we are stewards of. The same is true of our bank password, the bank isn’t trying to keep us out of our account, they’re trying to keep someone we don’t know out of our account.
The current hospital construction project has changed parking for a lot of staff, me included. I’m parking behind the building and entering through a door I didn’t know existed prior to the parking change. I frequently have meetings outside of the building and for about the first month of parking in the new location I was late to every meeting. I hadn’t reprogrammed my brain to take into account the additional walking time.
Change occurs in our patient care processes too. Things like AIDET, Bed Side Shift Report, and Patient Rounding are changes we are working to hardwire. No one is asking you to adopt these changes because it’s fun, the reason for the change is the evidence. We know for a fact, and we have the evidence to support it, that all of these initiatives improve patient care and safety.
Change is hard but the better the reason for change the easier it is to accept and what can be a better reason then patient care and safety. You can reprogram your brain just like you can your fingers and change will eventually become habit and our patients will benefit from your new habits.