Monday, June 30, 2014

App Retirement Party

Today marks the beginning of retirement for one of my apps--this one, in fact. As its Viking funeral ends in it sinks beneath the surface of the inky black waters of oblivion, I take a few minutes to ponder its useful life and its lessons.

Given its original mission, it was an astounding success: it allowed Outreach to dramatically grow its volume while greatly lowering the processing burden on the hospital lab.

Its secondary goal of paving the way for software in the draw station was also achieved, since rolling out its replacement was a fraction of the pain of introducing software to them in the first place.

Its tertiary goal of providing hard numbers with which to manage the collection operation seemed to be a glorious success, but since the organization did not bother to replace this functionality when they retired this app, perhaps this was as obviously valuable as I thought?

As an exercise in customization to support operating procedures, it also seemed to be a great success, but many of the most popular and most effective customizations are not being re-implemented, so their value was lower than it seems to me or their cost in the new environment is too high. The whole "this is better, because it cost more" movement baffles me and perhaps this is part of that.

The customizations which people most complain about losing are these:
  • the ability to automatically cancel ordered tests, with an explanation, of those tests are not going to be done anyway per Lab policy
  • the ability to automatically change  an order for an obsolete test with an order for its replacement, with documentation, if an equivalent replacement has been defined
  • the ability to handle clinical trials and research draws, to ensure anonymity and proper billing
Rest in peace, app: you did all that we asked and more.

Godspeed, former users: may your manual work-arounds be as painless as possible and your upgrades lead you, eventually, to the level of efficiency you once enjoyed.

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