So you want software which manages policies and procedures across hospitals, do you? It sounds easy enough, but for many products it’s just not in the cards.
Most software products today are built on top of software frameworks. These frameworks are meant to aid in development, improving a development team’s ability to build the things customers need. With different frameworks, though, come different advantages and tradeoffs. At PolicyStat, we had the advantage of building our product after the birth of an amazing web-based framework called Django.
To our customers, the framework doesn’t matter in the slightest, but what does matter is how effectively our tools let us build the things they care about. One feature we’ve been able to build that many of our competitors lack is applicability. “Applicability” allows a hospital to search, share and approve policies across multiple facilities.
|Example of a health system using applicability|
To illustrate the simple concept of applicability, I’ve made up a fictitious multi-facility hospital named after myself (I’ve also canonized myself in the process, as you will see in the diagram). The hospital happens to be a “meal” hospital, which might not make sense to you, but it does to someone like me who skipped breakfast 🙂
Now theoretically, all of the facilities in the meal hospital should have the same general policies, such as table manners, napkin usage, etc. However, some of the policies are not applicable to all facilities and should be managed and maintained separately. For example, the Oatmeal Center policies would only be applicable to St. Whitney’s Breakfast Hospital, because under no circumstance would I ever eat oatmeal outside of breakfast. Likewise, the TV dinner policy only applies to the St. Whitney Lunch Hospital because I’m short on time, and the dessert policy only applies to the Dinner Hospital (ok, that’s a lie). The dining out policy, however, could apply to both the Lunch Hospital and the Dinner hospital, because it’s possible that I would dine out during lunch or dinner, but never breakfast. Who has time for that?
It’s an easy concept to understand, but what this analogy is trying to say is that a simple idea in the real world can be a very complex problem in the software world. Applicability is a difficult technical problem, but by taking advantage of the best frameworks and tools, PolicyStat made it work. For a more technical explanation about how our development team made the difficult switch from PHP to Django, all while continuing to improve the product, read Wes’ DevBlog.