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Embrace Quality or Pay the Piper!

Since the #pandemic, a circle of my friends maintains a group chat to check up on each other’s day or post memes for laughs. A good number of those friends work for a patient #portal software company. The other day, one of them sent us a screen shot of a patient-facing page in the portal for a very large #hospital system (to go unnamed). It was rife with #errors.



The first line misspelled the word “authorization” and seemingly, the builder of the page copied that mistake to another line. Then proceeded to misspell “pharmacy” on the second line. Then it seems, the builder copied the second line to the third, now copying TWO mistakes. At least they spelled “hospice”, “request”, and “form” correctly. We all got a big laugh, but that simple mistake could “spell” disaster for a hospital system looking to gain and maintain the #trust of its #patients and #clients.


Especially when building client- and patient-facing systems of any kind, the design and execution must be perfect. There are a few ways to ensure this.


Build in a test environment. And test it.

This seems like an obvious statement. But lots of analysts and developers get complacent in their level of experience and feel they can do no wrong. Having many years in the software business, I have seen firsthand how badly a simple mistake can affect downstream EVERYTHING!


Get a sign off from a second set of eyes.

Even if you do not have a second set of eyes, simply copying and pasting text into a Word document will point out flaws very quickly. If you do have a second set of eyes, have them review your work in the test environment and again once it is moved to production. If the change is significant enough (e.g. the change goes to the patient chart or bill), get an actual sign off from a #pathologist or a #compliance officer.


Always keep the end user in mind.

When designing any system, the end user (in this case, the patient), is paramount. Easy to navigate screens require a lot of thought. Placement of text fields and tab stops all matter a great deal to people who may have little computer experience and to veterans of the industry alike. And properly spelled dialogue is a requirement.


As #healthcare IT professionals, we owe it to the users of the systems we design, build, and maintain to be thoughtful, careful, and to embrace #quality always.

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