I'm teaching CDA and CCD this week at the HL7 Education Summit. We're delivering the training in a new format developed by Diego Kaminker, Co-chair of the HL7 Education Workgroup and HL7 Argentina Chair. Diego did a great job restructuring the training, and I envy the students that got it. What's different? Well, I usually spend a half-day on CCD, but today we spent a full day. The additional time was used for exercises creating a HITSP C32 compliant CCD document.
Also, all the students in today's CCD-focused session spent the day before with Diego and Calvin Beebe (HL7 Structured Documents co-chair) on CDA basics, so I knew what the students already knew about CDA going into the class. That changes things dramatically in how I teach. I don't need to spend time for any remedial work in the class for those students who don't have the prerequisite skills or training. It means that I can draw on and help to reinforce the students existing knowledge.
Because the class was focused on Meaningful Use implementation, most of the students had already been, or were immediately going to be applying their skills. Having motivated students makes for a much more interesting classroom environment. I think I enjoyed this class just as much as the students did.
Even though the class was focused on Meaningful Use, we had two students from Canada who were interested to see what we were doing in the US. One of them commented about how much Meaningful Use in the US was affecting the International EHR market. It was a rather astute observation.
After the class, Calvin, Diego and I had dinner and talked about further improvements we want to make based on the students feedback. And they gave great feedback on what we had done, which will further improve this training for others. While the next Ed Summit reverts to the original format, the November Ed summit will probably reuse the new format. That will give us enough time to make some of the improvements we discussed. I also will be teaching the CCD class a little bit differently going forward, based on some of the outcomes of this class.
After dinner, Calvin asked me how much time I spent writing The CDA Book. He estimated about 1000 hours. I guessed about 500. After I got back to my room, I tallied up the stats Microsoft Word keeps on editing time. I have two documents which were corrupted by Word, and 21 uncorrupted saved copies of the work in progress. Counting up the editing time I spent, and filling in for the corrupted gaps I'm looking at about 850 hours for the book, outline and proposal. Adding in time I spent pitching the book to three editors, acquiring equipment and software, and preparing graphics, I figured it was still under 1000 hours. But, I get page layouts this week to proof, so figure another chunk of time there, and time to promote it and some other stuff, and Calvin probably nailed it on the head.
I started the project in Mid-November of 2009, and delivered it to the publisher in Early November of 2010, so figure a year of elapsed time. 1000 hours is half a working year for most people (50 weeks X 40 hours = 2000 hours). I know I already spend too much time doing what I do for the day job, and this was after hours, so I figure that while I was writing The CDA Book, I was putting in 70 - 80 hour weeks, and in the last month, about 80-100 hour weeks. Total page count is around 400, so that works out to about 2.5 hours a page. If I sell as many as I hope to, it would work out to about $20/hr after expenses. If I sell as many copies as I expect to, it would work out to about $8.5/hr after expenses. This is not a get rich quick scheme by any means. I could do better answering this ad.
This was an interesting investigation because I'm considering taking on another book project. Metrics are great. It gives me some targets for improvement. The next book would be about using IHE profiles to create Health Information Exchange. It's got quite a different audience I think, than the CDA Book, but I'm still exploring the idea, even this rate of return. It's fun, but then again, I have a strange idea about fun. Just ask my kids. I have a book project to work with them on as well. I think it'll start as a blog but be designed for eventual publication as a book. The working title of that project is "Math you aren't supposed to Know".