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HIStalk Guest Writer: Frank L. Poggio and The Ten Commandments of Healthcare Information Technology

July 27, 2008 News 7 Comments

Since joining HIStalk, I’ve  been surprised numerous times by our readers’ impressive credentials.  Looking over the subscribers list is a bit like reviewing a Who’s Who List of HIT leaders.  Today’s guest writer has is right up there with the best of them.

Today Frank is President of the Kelzon Group, a firm specializing in healthcare information systems consulting.  Over the years, he was GM of Mediware’s Blood Bank Division, President of Citation Computer Systems, and founder of Health Micro Data Systems (the developers of the first client/server-based system for healthcare organizations that later merged with CITATION and was  subsequently acquired by Cerner.)

Have fun reading!

Inga

The Ten Commandments of Healthcare Information Technology

(or, What Moses downloaded while on the mountaintop!)

It is a little known fact that Moses was not only a prophet, but also a hospital CIO. That fact should be self evident when you think about it. Prophets communicate critical information from a unique source to the rest of the organization. What the organization does with that information is beyond the control of the prophet. The prophet can neither require the masses to listen to it, nor does he have the power to require the masses act on it. Sounds pretty much like today’s CIO!

So, thousands of years ago when Moses went to the mountain top what did he download into his ‘Blockberry’? Fortunately, Moses was big on backups and he would routinely transfer his electronic files to stone carvings. Recently while excavating in a cave in the middle-east I came across his backup tablets, which included Moses’ original annotations!

HIT – Commandment 1

Thou shall never have enough project time.

Annotation: Actual project development always takes at least three times longer than planned. God created the world in six days. That was the first and last project ever completed on time, which is why s/he could rest on Sunday, and you can’t.

HIT – Commandment 2:

Thou shall never have enough resources.

Annotation: All projects will exceed budget by at least a factor of two. God made man a wasteful and inefficient being. Hence, there can never be enough resources.

HIT – Commandment 3:

Thou clinical users shall constantly and continuously change requirements and medical protocols.

Annotation: Medical requirements will always be changing and usually at the worst possible time. God created nature to be in constant change so why shouldn’t user requirements?

HIT – Commandment 4:

Thou shall always upgrade when least convenient and unprepared.

Annotation: New version will always set you back a month and reverse all previous fixes. Failure to install new versions will bring seven years of famine.

HIT – Commandment 5:

Thou shall sunset immediately.

Annotation: As the sun rises, so does the sun set. And clinical system vendors know this and therefore will sunset their products immediately after sunrise (a.k.a. go live).

HIT – Commandment 6:

Thou shall forever run legacy systems.

Annotation: Once a system is installed and running it must live forever. To ignore this commandment will bring a plague of bugs, glitches and gremlins on your hospital and all that work there.

HIT – Commandment 7:

Thou shall not worship newer technologies.

Annotation: There is only one technology and there will be no technology after it. True believers know the next best technology never is, and cannot be. To believe otherwise is blasphemy and all who do will be destined to spend all eternity in the hell of constant upgrades.

HIT – Commandment 8:

Thou shall not idolize the demo.

Annotation: The demo is Satan. To believe in the demo is the ultimate sin.

HIT – Commandment 9:

Thou shall never be trained.

Annotation: Your staff will never get enough training, the vendor will never deliver enough training hours, and even if he did you could not afford to pay for them.

HIT – Commandment 10:

Thou shall never have enough support.

Annotation: Vendor support will always be insufficient, and if it ever is sufficient, the vendor will quickly install a new release (see Commandments 4 & 5).

In our archeological diggings we could see that there were more stone tablets but the erosion from weather and wind exposure made them all unreadable. I am sure most CIOs can guess at what they said.

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Currently there are "7 comments" on this Article:

  1. What a truly useless list of words. I can’t see how these generic bromides help anyone. P.S. Number 11: There is no weather. Don’t plan anything, because no one knows what the weather will be.

  2. Frank Poggio’s comments are true to the world of healthcare IT. I am glad he has not lost his keen sense of humor about the realities of healthcare. Too funny

  3. Frank,
    Enjoyed the read. Some things never change, particularly the truth! I lost your contact information after we ran into each other at the convention and would like to catch up.
    Hope you and your family are doing well.

    Regards,

    Sam

  4. Summary:

    CIOs get screwed by vendors alot and users a little. Either was as a CIO your getting screwed.

    Hummm could open source help take the vendor out of the equation?
    That would screw those proprietary bastards! : )~

  5. Now that you mention it some of those other hard to read tablets had something about open systems on them. Here’s one I was able to partially decipher:

    1) Thou shalt never revel in a ‘free’ open system.
    Annotation: Like the sun, God made the software free, but you’ll have to pay dearly to not get burned, and learn how to use it.

    …I’ll have to get to work to figure out the rest…







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