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Apple and Oranges

July 21, 2011
by Pete Rivera
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We need to use design thinking in terms of developing applications and user interfaces

I have had my iPhone for a long time. When I first got it, it was somewhat of a novelty. The BlackBerry users could not understand why I would give up the interoperability with corporate networks in favor of this new niche’ device. But as with all technology innovations, the device spoke for itself and has enjoyed a huge adoption rate. Now we are seeing iPads and iPhones used seamlessly within healthcare enterprises. CIO’s that refused to support or allow non-Microsoft devices to plug into their networks, soon found themselves having to develop ways for Apple devices to communicate with their networks.

The lesson that Apple provides to the Healthcare industry is that we need to use design thinking in terms of developing applications and user interfaces. We need to start with a clean slate and build from scratch. Plug into creative ways of approaching problems and try to provide solutions that are intuitive, not structured. Our problem is that we are still thinking in terms of hierarchical Data Bases, legacy systems and interfaces. The vendor that is able to turn everything upside down and tap into a highbred of social media, iPad interface and clinical informatics, will be the next one to dominate the industry.

The other part of the equation is that CIO’s need to be ready to say yes, and figure out how to make it happen. It is far too easy to say no, because “no” does not require any work effort. “No” keeps the organizational legacy system going and saying “no” does not affect your budget. I would love to borrow some Apple developers for one year and have them build a Healthcare Information System, cradle to grave. Can you imagine what it would look like? Well neither can I, and that’s the point.