Sunday, July 1, 2007

Never Learned Much From What Went Right!

I remember an old friend and colleague, a country lawyer working for the Department of Justice of an eastern Canadian province who once said to me, "I never learned much from what went right." We were working on the aftermath of a particularly troublesome project that not only failed, but where the principals ended up in prolonged legal action.

That troublesome project taught everyone involved a lot of very important lessons.... lessons that I apply to this day in my consulting practice.

The overwhelming number of posts on this blog will be about bad news. Unfortunately, we rarely publicize our successes, and when we do, the commentary is often accompanied by more hype than evidence.

Every eHealth project is a success if we can harvest learnings and experience. Much in the eHealth world is experimental. At this stage of eHealth evolution the things that don't work can be just as valuable that the things that do. Perhaps more so. How many improvements in aircraft design, crew training, air traffic control and emergency response have come from the investigations of air crashes? Quite a few.

Unfortunately, health care is dominated by a blame-oriented culture. This is due in large part to the political nature of health care in many parts of the world. Publicly funded health care is a wonderful thing, but it exposes us to political influences. The prevailing attitude is "Failure is not an option". This means that failures are buried, hidden or swept under the carpet rather than studied for the valuable intelligence they contain.

As you read the posts on this site, be thankful to those people who are sharing their experiences with us, both successes and failures. Its through this sharing of experience that we will improve the success to failure ratio for all eHealth initiatives.

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