Build for clinicians

Better software design could give two weeks a year back to every clinician

I had two fantastic conversations this week with hospital pharmacists. One is a customer, the other not (yet!) Doesn't matter. It was just great to talk about real problems and discuss real opportunities.

For me it was a reminder of why I am part of Triscribe. Too many hospital IT systems are designed for management not users. Its the wrong mindset and it has consequences.

Easier not harder

Clinicians invest huge amounts of  time and effort capturing, managing and reporting data. They endure tremendous friction at every stage of the process. Its inefficient. Its error prone. Its costly and its slow.

Most important, we are placing unnecessary stress on hard pressed frontline staff.

We should be using technology to make clinicians lives easier. Not harder. A basic starting point is to build applications for the people who use them.  That's how every other kind of software is designed and built. No-one in the tech business would think of doing it any other way.

How will clinicians use your software?

A small incident in Helsinki earlier this year reminded me never to make assumptions. The speaker was the Technology Officer for a large teaching hospital. He described one key problem as:

"How to get meaningful analytics that clinicians will use in patient care."

Its a good challenge. There is no easy answer. But there is a simple way to start. If you want stuff clinicians will use, build stuff for clinicians.

So what does building for clinicians actually mean?

  • Make it easier to use the data.

  • Help get to the right question and the right focus faster.

  • Offer data the clinician can't otherwise get

  • Better data. More accurate, more often, better communicated.

Could we give two weeks back to every clinician?

Getting these basics right feeds a bigger agenda. Giving time back to your people.

  • More time for doing what they love - treating patients.

  • Less stress day to day. Maybe even a bit more free time.

  • Support the way teams work but also enable change.

  • Don't forget the small stuff - mobile v laptop, pies v lines, colour and scales. Getting this right for the user makes a big difference.

I realised in Finland that this was not obvious in the digital health world. Hospital IT systems are just not built this way. Function and efficiency rule. Its the way things were when I started in the tech business.

Technology has moved on. Modern tools and modern design make life easier for all of us. The benefits sound vague. They are not. My guess is that delivering tools that do basic stuff with a great user experience could give every frontline clinician an extra two weeks of time every year.

Triscribe is only a small part of this. Maybe saving a few hours on average. Our guiding principle is to build things the right way. It means building for clinicians and trying to make life easier for pharmacists, nurses and doctors. We don't always get this right. Its a process not a project. But the more real people we work with, the better it gets.