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Fishing for Success: The Case for a Guide

As summer wanes, my wife and I prepare for our late summer vacation after Labor Day. This year, we are planning a fishing trip. I have never been much of a fisherman, and at points in my life, I have hated the thought of fishing poles, hot sun, worms and the like. That was until we had the opportunity to go fly fishing a few years ago. This “sportsman” activity checks all the right boxes for me. Expensive gear, check. Cool river streams in mountainous areas, check. Trout, check. A level of skill that takes a lifetime to master, check. Sign me up.

To fly fish well it takes patience, perseverance, and as mentioned above, great skill. I am not very good at it, though the catharsis of it all calms me and puts me in a zen-like place. Given that I am a healthcare IT consultant and spend over 100 days a year traveling to far-flung corners of this country in support of hospitals dealing with high-stress projects, periods of calm are always welcome.

I was thinking about the contrast between our fishing excursions and my chosen profession. There are a lot of similarities. Generally, the trip or project is very expensive. Each has very specialized needs, milestones, and events. Many details need to be handled in order for a trip or project to be successful and get the most value. One area that I never overlook is the need for a guide. With fishing, being in a new part of the country and unfamiliar territory in search of a new type of fish, a guide’s services are invaluable and truly contribute to any success we might have. Advice on what weight of pole to use, what hatch has just occurred and what fly to use, how to cast in this river, times the fish are biting – guidance on navigating the nuances of the process is so helpful.

Much like fishing guides, implementation consultants fill a similar role during a project. Most likely, a facility’s IT staff may not have experienced a largescale implementation project in decades. However, consultants will usually complete an implementation every 12- 18 months. Experience, check. We know when and where problems will arise. Local knowledge, check. We have or do work in hospitals throughout the U.S. and know the most effective way to implement the software as well as truly understand hospital operations. Best practices, check. We generally have a bundle of valuable plans, communication, and documentation tools that make projects of this scale run smoothly.

Whether you are planning your next fishing trip or a largescale software implementation, think about hiring a qualified, seasoned guide. Someone you know you can have a long-term relationship with because a successful fishing trip (and implementation projects) take time. The level of success you have is directly dependent on whom you choose and how you leverage their skillset.


About the Author

Bob Gronberg is the Director of CereCore’s MEDITECH Practice. Bob leads and supports multiple projects, business development and operational initiatives. He has 30 years of healthcare IT experience that ranges from independent consulting to executive leadership. Has held leadership positions in both adult and children-focused organizations and has led a number of successful MEDITECH 6.x implementations.

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