Multimedia-assisted requirements analysis can bring a spotlight on healthcare in UKs
Last night I attended a very interesting talk at the British Computer Society on open source technology and health care. Here's some links that were shared during the talk.
So why multimedia-assisted requirements analysis you may ask - well during the Q&A I was keen to highlight that there currently does not exist a means for the technical community (open or otherwise) to actually 'get at' the requirements of general practices (GP) for software solutions. As part of this exercise it became apparent to me that one technique for requirements gathering would be to use multimedia i.e. a handheld video recorder to capture the 'working practices' at a GP.
This approach I believe has merit as one of the common issues we face, as architects/developers, is translating working practices into requirements - by 'shooting' videos, doing some packaging with tools such as Celtx (i.e. you might wish to blur confidential information) and sharing these on sites such as YouTube would enable the technically illiterate to actually prepare content at zero-cost (plus their time of course) that we could use to derive and model solutions that were fit-for-purpose.
It would also bring an intense spotlight on the actual issues GPs face with the current tools they use to get their work done. Does it really make sense for digital patient records to be printed out onto paper and re-entered into the exact same system when patients transfer from one GP to another - ludicrous is one thought coming to mind.
It came as no surprise that the speaker was flabbergasted at the continued cycle of broken promises relating to software projects that are never deployed due to the politics and ineptitude of the people in charge to deliver this work - how long does one wait? 10+ years is the average it seems and still no service.
What is perhaps the most depressing symptom of this poor performance is a totally disenfranchised community of NHS managers who are absolutely fearful of getting their hands dirty on an IT project because of the career risks it creates - no one wants to be known for losing £2.5m (value for example only) of budget on a failed IT project - and there have been many in the NHS yet a few people have continued to profit from this fiasco.
Today, we face an uphill struggle in trying to convince our government of the new era in software evolution - we have a pressing need to innovate around the indemnification challenge when someone like Mr. Granger wishes to ensure that when he engages with a provider that they assume liability - where this applies to software that is 'open' there seems to be an awful disconnect that is fueled by marketing spin - the problem is that this is costing taxpayers millions of pounds but no one listens because the debate is stuck in the realms of 'technical choices' as opposed to that of 'insightful strategy'.
For the entrepreneurs amongst you there is an opportunity to create a brokerage that provides indemnification for local open source providers targeting healthcare providers in their region that supports many more players, enriching and delivering choice to GPs, than those with the might and budget going after the bigger deals.
Comments welcomed, especially any links that corroborate or contradict these opinions