Impressive IT project

The, one of the sites I regularly visit for Java related news today posted a link to this case study.

The case study describes an EJB based software system that runs the health care system in Brasil. When I say “runs the health care system”, I mean that for example in Sao Paulo, a city with 20 million inhabitants, all health centers are based on and interoperate with this system. That is a seriously impressive achievement.

Healthcare software is notorious for so-called island automation meaning that basically the IT infrastructure of health care organizations consist of many incompatible islands of software system that simply refuse to work together in a meaningful way. Brasil fixed that. Both from a technical point of view and a organizational point of view that is a very impressive achievement.

I was in  Dutch hospital three years ago. They gave me a plastic card with holes in it, aka. a punchcard. My health record actually lives in a software system that uses punchcards! I find that a disturbing thought. In most civilized countries, the IT infrastructure in the health sector is comparatively fragmented or worse. E.g. the US health system is notorious for being one of the most expensive (per capita) on this planet and also for having a comparatively low quality of service. Also a significant part of the population is uninsured.