Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Specific vs Agnostic- which is your Healthcare IT killer App?

I've worked in many sectors including manufacturing, retail, aviation and distribution... always on the technology side. Recently, I've been intensively working in Healthcare and already there are a life time of conversations we could all have about sector comparisons. In this post, I want to focus on the observation that I've never seen an industry so full of technologies that have been tweaked and tailored to be sector specific.

Some tweaks are hugely superficial, being a thin veneer of marketing whilst others are profoundly fundamental. For the sake of my legal team (which I'll be watering later) I'll not distinguish one from the other here. I've seen entire integration engines JUST for sharing EPR. I've been presented with video conferencing suites targetting telemedicine. I've used databases focussed on nothing but healthcare. I've been pitched phone circuits as healthcare backbones.

There are many possible reasons for this more extreme focussing of effort than in other sectors, a few of which here readers might be able to add to:

1. The healthcare sector is particularly unique
2. Healthcare sector procurement having a larger than average critical mass per programme
3. A revolution in healthcare delivery models driving a rapid pace of change
4. Low influx of technical expertise from other sectors

All might be appropriate on different days and when describing different technologies. Some are hugely value adding and some are little more than crackpot moonshine.

However, what is very interesting is when the reciprocal must also be true- that there are generic, industry-agnostic, technologies which you swear by as a Healthcare IT professional. Go on, spill the beans... which dull consumer products have grown to be the backbone of your organisation. MS Excel? Which technologies would see you suffer if you were to remove. Skype? Which technology could I stick the word "Care" in front of and masquerade it as £50m of development exclusively for the use of hospitals?

Get in touch and let me know.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aside from the obvious Outlook, some of our docs swear by Google Desktop. That's how I actually found your blog- from an article you posted a while ago on it.