TECH: FEMA and the Wisconsin CHIN — incompetence together?

MrHISTalk had a little rant yesterday about the crappy demands from the Wisconsin Health Information Network that its users only use Internet Explorer.

User tip: those interoperability and open standards folks at the Wisconsin Health Information Exchange might want to get real web developers instead of the three doctors who appeared to have created their website (and who also run some for-profit ventures under the company name Asatte.) View it in a buggy, obsolete, and proprietary browser like Internet Explorer and it works. Try it with an open, standards-based browser like Firefox and you get this rude message: "Sorry, this page requires full support of modern browser functionality. Your browser does not support that functionality. Click here to get a current browser." Why would doctors waste time screwing around building websites when millions of Indians can do a far more professional job (and following international web standards) for $5 an hour? Even Asatte’s own site is hopelessly lip-locked onto Bill Gate’s buttocks, proudly proclaiming "Using XML to Office technology, Asatte allows authors and editors to use tools with which they are familiar, like Microsoft Word, to edit, maintain, and coordinate the creation of anything from small to massive publishing projects." Real programmers don’t "code" in Microsoft desktop applications (but doctors often do.)

But while we’re on FEMA’s case, its perhaps a little more serious that same thing is true for those people trying to use a non-IE browser while applying for disaster aid. I do though like the headline from the Good Morning Silicon Valley blog which reads, We’re a disaster agency; of course we use IE

On the other hand, I’ve sadly gone back to using IE since inexplicably a recent Firefox upgrade made it crawl on my machine.  And, now that I sometime use my GF’s Apple, am I alone in thinking that the usability of both Windows and Apple sucks, and that installing Linux didn’t seem to make things much better.

Isn’t it about time for some real innovation on (or maybe) off the desktop?

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  1. LOL!!! Having worked in this area, I can vouch that there’s an enormous prejudice in corporate-sized health care toward hiring people with a medical backround. These people are supposed to understand the “needs” of health care. At the same time there’s an enormous suspicion of IT folk, who are perceived to be making IT-based decisions that somehow conflict with or betray “business” decisions (i.e., decisions made by idiots who got their job through good connections). I’ve actually interviewed for jobs in this area where I was screened out for being “too technical”.
    Meanwhile, there are a bunch of doctors who seem to lack the proper gratitude for their $200k+ salaries and seem to be convinced they missed some sort of boat by failing to major in computer science. These doctors learn some html and some snazzy high tech terminology, and voila, they are placed at the top of the pyramid of Health Care Informatics propaganda. The biggest laugh at Kaiser was that the directors couldn’t figure out how to solve basic Microsoft Office problems, and they could be snowed by the most dubious high-tech sounding terms. My cubicle was directly in front of the CTO’s office, so I was right in the middle of the action. The sheer ignorance at the top was astounding.
    And worse, Kaiser’s PR department is charged with imposing this general stupidity on the public. For instance, there are ongoing claims that the Systems Diagrams were some sort of ookie spooky Testing Portal, a high-tech concept that they probably hope will awe the common man. Horse hockey!!! The Systems Diagrams were just posted presentation slides. We live in a society where technology is regarded as a form of magic, and utterly unqualified people are buying up the Priesthood.

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