When a family member underwent a series of minor medical procedures
recently, I got a front-row view of the hospital's data entry systems.
As I'm sure is also true elsewhere, it wasn't a pretty picture. The
ordeal begins at the registration desk where, no matter how many visits
you've made recently — perhaps even on the same day! — you're
required to “verify your information.” It's always bugged me to listen
to someone read off, from a screen, such facts as date of birth,
address, employer, and insurer. But when the procedure is repeated at
the surgical registration desk, it becomes a flagrant HIPAA violation.
Anyone within earshot is made privy to information the hospital has
sworn to safeguard.
Once you're admitted, each exam room and lab that you visit
requires its own consent form. They're all identical, so you wind up
repeating the same information that you just painstakingly verified,
scribbling it onto one piece of paper after another.
I've griped before about Microsoft's weird reluctance to saturate the
market with copies of InfoPath. And I've suggested that a competitor
might leverage open source (Mozilla) and open standards (XForms) to
create a ubiquitous next-generation platform for data collection. One
way or another, something's got to give. Locating human proxies between
customers and our database records isn't cheap, reliable, or secure.
[Full story at InfoWorld.com]