Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas from Santa, his Reindeer and Me

In what will probably be my last posting until the New Year I'm going to generously wish all readers a Merry Christmas by 'stealing' a message from someone else (let's call it 'social networking'). Anyway, this made me laugh and I love the mannerisms in these characters.

Merry Christmas

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British Computer Society Recommend CfH Changes

A report by the British Computer Society is being widely reported at the moment. I wish to do little else than add my voice to those who say "here here". I believe it is a very rounded review and I would urge anyone in the NHS, DH or Healthcare IT to read the full version- and not just what they read in the press.

The only thing I would add is that a move away from monolithic systems to interoperable standards will require an evolution in the maturity of healthcare IT (See There be Dragons in Phase 4). The commercial environment required to enable this out-of-cashflow investment would probably be too large to run alongside NPfIT. As expensive as it is, the systems being implemented through LSPs are only an incremental improvement at a functional level rather than a fundamental rearchitecting. We need to focus on some core areas and keep them simple if this is to work.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

New 2009 Ferrari Dino Spotted?

Have I spotted a prototype of the top secret 2009 Ferrari Dino? It is rumoured to be an "entry-level Ferrari to slot below the F430"- this would certainly be that. Or could it be the latest in a craze for ironic modifications to Smart cars in W1, London?

So hard to tell...

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

NHS Cautiously Proceeds with Patient Records

It's been announced that Lord Warner has decided that the NHS should press on with the National Care Record System- albeit in a watered down 'summary' format and with the ability to opt-out and keep your data local.

I welcome the news. Well, I welcome the progress bit within the news. We're out of the gate. Personally, I'm happy for the brakes to be taken off the technology but the media suggests that the public thinks differently. This announcement leaves the path open to eventually extend the summary records into being more detailed and provides the opportunity for people to see the benefits. I want all of my medical records on line NOW and I want to contribute to it. It's my information and I feel that future clinicians I have the misfortune to need the services of will be able to serve me better if they have more information. The further away I am from my friends and relatives at home when I need that help, the more I want the information available to clinicians with my life in their hands.

Security? It's doable. What's more, do you know what they're doing now? When were you last asked for your consent? Believe me, technology will be better- it can be explicit. The problem with health care is that moral dilemmas are always a short step away which can bring progress to a stiffling halt. Am I the only person who wants to live longer and healthier?

And in case anyone asks... GPs do not represent me. The media keeps giving the GPs' opinion as if it is surrogate for the public. Not so. Ask me.

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LinkedIn Upselling leaves something to be desired...

Now. I'm a big fan of LinkedIn, but even I was left not in the least bit tempted by this attempt to encourage me to extend my professional network. With all due respect to my friends Liz and Bela, librarians are not the top of my list of "must network with". Where are the astronauts, lion tamers and QCs?

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Partying with Geeks is Fun

Next year why don't you come down to the British Computing Society Younger Professionals Group Christmas Party (BCSYPGCP for short)? This year's event was so much fun you might forget that most of the revellers are professional developers OR testers ELSE businessmen. The event was held at No.5 Cavendish Square- purporting to be a private members club, but seemed to me to be a night club cunningly dressed up as a members club. Nevertheless, we had a great VIP area, a modicum of champagne, nibbles and the opportunity to listen to the diverse careers of those present.

Many thanks to Mervin, Portia, Mark T, Phil, Ed, James, Mark and Abdullah for your company. Mark has even be set the challenge of trying to find this blog from what little information he gleaned from me- watch this space. Sorry to those I didn't bump into (or maybe you were lucky), especially the hostess Jenny, Nigel, Houston & Tom (keep the Brunel spirit alive).

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Does IT Matter?

In May 2003, Harvard Business Review published a paper authored by Nicholas G. Carr titled “IT Doesn’t Matter”. A business partner of ours sent it too me and yes, it was thought provoking, and yes, it nearly made my blood curdle.

A Technorati search shows that the article has been widely reported on by AccMan and Navarik. The title isn’t a total red herring designed to hook you in before it makes some clever ironic play. The paper really does make the case that at a strategic level “IT Doesn’t Matter” because it is approaching commodity status. Quite simply- I disagree, especially in health care IT.

1. The article paints a static picture of any company’s IT investments. This is a war of continuous evolution rather than a battle between individual systems.

2. I would argue that the commoditisation of IT provides the opportunity for organisations to construct orchestrated solutions disruptive to markets and their competitors. Customers can apply technologies in ways that the creators of the building blocks had not imagined. This is a highly competitive capability which depends on organisation competence and agility.

3. The investment in IT is being painted in black and white. Because the customer was not intelligent, IT investment was focussed on features that solve problems without consideration of how the problems are solved. The “how” has become crucial because for features from many suppliers to work together requires an understanding of this architecture. I would agree there was overinvestment in features- but only now are we looking at the architecture.

4. You cannot compare, as Nicholas Carr does, IT to electric power or railways by analogy at almost any level. Information simply does not conform to the First Law of Thermodynamics. If the physics don’t stack up, nor will market comparisons. We’re talking about tools for knowledge workers, not core utility services.

5. Technology as a competitive factor in health care is only just beginning. We are along way off a sector with the characteristics this article is describing. Technology is still widely seen as a necessary evil in this sector which is amazing as few other sectors would benefit from computerisation more than healthcare. It is such a complex sector that control of information will make the controllers very competitive. The status quo suits only the incumbant. Managing vulnerabilities is important, but there is an opportunity for a health care IT company to be created out of the current climate who will lead us into the next phase of IT maturity.

*ClickRich’s New Rules of IT Management would therefore be:

Spend wisely, but large investment in health care IT is required to catch up.
Follow on core technologies, lead in how you apply them.
Focus on Opportunities if you are an emerging Health care provider.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Is Second Life the new Sharepoint?

With much talk over the last 5 years about collaborative technologies there has been a huge investment in portal platforms- from Microsoft's Sharepoint to Oracle's Collaborative Suite. These platforms essentially extend existing comms user interfaces into the browser, but are they about to be usurped by a game? Virtual worlds designed for entertainment are being turned to by corporates and institutions looking for a richer immersive collaborative experience. The most hailed is Second Life, from Linden Labs, which according to Forbes (and reported on FutureHIT), is used by about 40 companies- mostly for a savvy marketing prescence. Some, such as IBM are reported by Chris Edwards of the IET magazine to have 'secret islands' to try out concepts. Starwood Hotels built a concept hotel so they could gauge the feedback of virtual guests. Campus: Second Life is even structuring learning facilities for use by real life institutions with profiles for their students.

Will this become the norm around corporate offices? Induction Courses the world over will have to add the agenda item "Build Avatar".

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Get a Blog. Get 3 degrees of Seperation!

Read this amazing story about Jason Happe of GA who lost a Swiss Army Knife his grandmother had given him. Years later, a blogger called Rick Lee picked up the knife in the forest of West Virginia and posted it on their site. The site was seen by someone who'd served in the army with Jason and, via his father, the knife made its way home.

Fantastic. It just shows how a sense of community has grown around the blogosphere.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

IE7... no, Firefox 2.0. No IE7... or maybe Firefox?

I've mentioned before how I'm broadly very pleased with IE7 to the point where it has retaken the mantle of "Preferred Web Browser, Autumn 2006" from Firefox2.0. I've not mentioned that this was largely on the strength of the "Feeds" feature.

I was interested to read in the Jan 2007 edition of PC Pro that they prefer Firefox2.0 so maybe I'm wrong? They clearly are paid to review products. I just fit this around a busy day job. What would I know?

Not only do they prefer Firefox2.0, but it is on the strength of the feed features! I looked into this a little further and they basically find my source of irritation with Firefox an improvement- that is the drawing of summaries into a live bookmark. The thing is, I was thinking that it's 'neat' for Firefox to have the feeds running off the favourites menu navigation, but I find it an irritation to keep returning there to flick through sources when IE7 can have the feeds pegged to the left hand pane. HOWEVER, being forced to reappraise my assessment and I can now see that you can do the same with Firefox2.0 from the View menu.

So, after all that, the debate is wide open again at ClickTowers. IE7 and Firefox2.0 are neck and neck, until I look into it again...

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