Consideration for patient data security has long restricted the pace of innovation in the development of modern solutions for hospitals and patients. After working within software development for almost 20 years, I must admit I was very surprised when I became aware just how ‘un-user friendly’ and incomplete the solutions used in hospital administration and medical record storage actually are. The systems are very document-centred and difficult and time-consuming to navigate. During my observations of the systems, I found it was difficult to obtain an overview of important information concerning previous admissions and diagnoses, and it is very clear to me that this impacts on patient safety. The systems are also not ready to receive medical data which the patients themselves collect, and there is no way for doctors and patients to share this information securely. New solutions for intelligent technologies for the gathering of medical data are being developed at lightning speed, driven by major players such as Apple and Google, and the administrative systems do not appear to be able to keep up with the pace of development. There is very clearly an opportunity here for smaller players
There is a window for more disruptive players in the eHealth market as the big players are stuck in old code and poor usability.
Information security has traditionally been one of the major impediments to the development of modern software solutions, simply because innovation in such a rigid and bureaucratic environment is difficult and not very motivating for those involved. This astonishes me, as I would have thought that consideration for human life and health would take precedence.
Over the past six months, I have been fortunate enough to be involved as a mentor in a software project to develop the next generation software. The project aims to develop the next generation software for hospitals and their patients. We use modern, open technology and the solutions will be deployed and operated as a cloud service based on IBM Bluemix. Sykehuspartner, the major supplier of operating services to hospitals in Norway, has chosen this technology for use in modern IT solutions for hospitals and patients in Norway. The ambition is to develop a toolbox which will enable the pace of innovation of new solutions for the Norwegian healthcare sector to accelerate. The project is a partnership between Martina Hansen Hospital and GoTreatIt ® Cloud and is supported by Innovation Norway. The new technology will later on by exported to various markets.
The creation of next generation software for hospitals and patients using a hybrid approach to software development
When I work on the development of a new piece of software, I practise a hybrid approach to software development. This is because my experience is that it pays to invest in prototyping and the development of a complete storyboard which sets out the direction and scope. It is important to develop a thorough and detailed backlog which can be used in the communication between developer and customer. This is because software development first and foremost represents a communication challenge, and technical risk is primarily reduced by establishing reference points for a good discussion. In an Agile context, one could say that I recommend a much longer duration for sprint 0, which in reality is of course the same as in Waterfall. My experience is that it is much easier to be Agile when opportunities and limitations are present. Once a thorough backlog has been created, the actual Agile approach to system development can start through adopting Scrum.
A proper storyboard and the related product backlog are created through a detailed process between the subject matter specialists, the usability specialists and the full stack tech lead.
The Usability specialist working in tandem with the full stack developer and the technical project manager establishing a proper prototype before initiating the actual planning of the development backlog.
About the author
Robert Kristiansen works as a mentor for various software companies and specialize in establishing a clear vision and a proper backlog as the base for future development. He was one of the first to establish his own ISV in Bangalore, India in 2004 (135+ headcount). He has mentored some of the largest software projects in the Nordic sector with typically around more than 50.000 development hours and customers includes big international companies like Baker Hughes and Kongsberg. He also have a passion for early tech-start ups where he typically mentor and co-invest. His customers typically shows a very ambitious approach to innovation and software development. Increase in both profit and market share can be documented in several projects. Robert is the founder of Frontbyte and accessible for our clients as a mentor.