When I first learned about internet in 1998 – I started dreaming for a fully integrated paperless healthcare system. A system which allows a physician to access lab result by simple touch on a screen, it allows them to transmit prescription to patient’s preferred pharmacy. System, which also allows a patient to access all records any time or schedule appointment himself without making time consuming phone calls to physician’s office. A decade later last month I was amazed by seeing most of things working in my visit to pediatrician’s office,. Nurse entered all records using a windows tablet, physician can see current and past data, charts and prescribe drugs right there in his tablet. Super impressive moment for me was the transmission of prescription to my local pharmacy by physician by pressing a button in his office. I had a wow feeling at the time of picking up medicine in my trip back to home without any wait at pharmacy.
But this wow feeling did not last long. Because in my next visit to same place my frustration started from reception desk. Receptionist told me that she cannot access my appointment information because their new system is down. I finally filled a long sheet of paper to provide all information and insurance records. Another bigger surprise was waiting for me when I entered in check-up room, physician told me in his humble voice that he do not have any lab result and past prescription due to system outage. I am fully sympathized with the frustration of that 54 year old physician, who was feeling helpless due to so called hi-tech system. All bells and whistles of the system worth nothing if it cannot meet basic criteria that “it should simply work”. It looks we are not there yet, a lot more need to done to reach there.
Reliability is super critical for success of upcoming cloud. Do you remember Skype outage few weeks ago – check the blog posting from Skype CEO – CIO update: Post-mortem on the Skype outage. If we really want to make all these technological advancements successful, making them reliable is more important than large set of features. Without it a product would be simply a piece of art, which people will appreciate but will not like to use it for getting their work done.