Giving Thanks without Burning Down the House

Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with traditions.  Usually those traditions are built around food.  For some, it is stuffing just like their Grandma made, filled with meats, bread and spices.  For others it is canned cranberry sauce, the sloosh sound it makes when it releases from the can and the art deco ridges from the can’s shape molded into the gelatinous sauce.

For some, their Thanksgiving tradition also involves a fire extinguisher, protective gloves, and a clear space in their back yard.  For those, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without the savory taste of a deep-fried turkey leg on their lips.  No one can say for certain how many of the 45 million turkeys on people’s Thanksgiving tables this week will be deep-fried, but, in 2010 State Farm ranked the top 10 states for grease and cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day from 2005-09.

The top ten states were:

  • Texas  with 33 fires
  • Illinois with 22 fires
  • Ohio with 18 fires
  • Michigan, 15
  • New York, 15
  • Florida, 14
  • Pennsylvania, 12
  • Indiana, 11
  • Missouri, 10
  • South Carolina, 10

(hat tip, Daily Finance)

I reached out to one of my closest friends and a deep-fried Thanksgiving vet, Danny Healy.  With an engineer’s mind and a chef’s hands, Danny offered some advice that seems well suited for the healthcare industry in this time of momentous transformation and change.  Just replace “turkey” with “EHR Incentive Program” and “oil” with “current care delivery system” and the advice still applies.

“If you don’t accurately measure the oil before by hand, you’re going to have a lava hot disaster when you drop in the turkey.  If you don’t turn the fire off while you’re dropping the bird in, you going to have a hot lava disaster.  When you lower the turkey into the oil, you have to do it very very slowly otherwise the water in the turkey mixing with the hot oil will bubble over and again, lava hot, hot bubbling mess…and a brutal clean up.”

If you’re looking for more advice on deep frying a turkey, here you go.

If you’re looking for more advice to avoid a “hot bubbling mess…and brutal clean-up” regarding a technological or workflow focused change in your organization due to Meaningful Use, ICD-10, and all the other wonderful “side dishes” that come with electronic medical records, consider exploring the HIMSS Change Management Framework (login required), designed and produced by our Change Management Task Force, whose activities were directed by Management Engineering & Process Improvement committee to foster an approach towards change management that focuses on greater process optimization and increased efficiency regardless of setting or situation.

Have a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving Everyone!  And Texas, keep those fire extinguishers at the ready!

About Adam Bazer

Adam Bazer is Sr. Manager, Health Information System for HIMSS. In this role, his main focus is on the HIMSS HIT Usability community and committee. Prior to this role, Adam worked as Manager, Digital Events for HIMSS Media. His areas of responsibility included the HIMSS Virtual Events and HIMSS Webinars. Adam has served HIMSS in other capacities as well, including as Manager, Annual Conference Education, responsible for the call for proposal process and speaker management of education sessions at the HIMSS Annual Conference. You can reach Adam directly at abazer@himss.org
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