Reluctance to Change / by David Driscoll

Lisa Taylor-Belliveau wrote in her blog this past Tuesday, when discussing the lack of compliance from various health records departments: “Change is hard, and the reluctance to change is real and daunting.”

Ain’t that the truth, and don’t we all know it!

I, for one, find it continually difficult to change my lifestyle, my diet, my work schedule, my negative attitude towards our current political climate, and a number of other unhealthy habits I’ve acquired over the course of 38 years on this planet. Sometimes I know I should eat a salad and drink water before bed, but instead I eat a whole pizza and drink an entire bottle of wine. Despite the undesirable effects I sometimes suffer as the result of my personal decisions, I would often rather endure the discomfort than exert the effort necessary to exact any real changes to my daily living.

Why? Because change is hard, and my reluctance to change is indeed real and daunting.

But the strength of my willpower to impart a positive influence on my personal life is very different than the legal requirement for a medical records office to comply with mandated regulations that have now been in place for some time. My individual choices don’t violate any laws or regulations (usually), and they only affect me. However, the lack of compliance with federal HIPAA regulations by hospitals across the country affects countless patients in need of their health information, many of whom are counting on that data for survival.

Change is indeed hard, and some hospitals appear to be reluctant to change their policies. But I say: tough shit!

When a hospital doesn’t honor a patient’s rightful request to access his or her health data within the required timeframe, for example, the patient is the one who suffers. As Lisa added: “If privacy officers remain immune to the plight of the people they are there to protect, and unwilling to take advantage of new systems and procedures that can eliminate these obstacles, then this pattern is destined to continue.”

In order to enact hard change, you must first understand that it’s needed. To prolong making changes is to be human. To be oblivious to needed change, however, is negligent.

-David Driscoll