Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Expecting The Fail

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I am a bit of a computer geek. (I know, this is a crushing disappointment for many of you.) One of the positive aspects is that when out-of-the-box vendor software doesn't do exactly what a company wants it to, they can call on me (or someone like me) to fix it for them.

One such program is GE's Xeleris program. It runs "Aladdin" user scripts that are a derivative of Virtual Basic. I taught myself some rudimentary VB, created a series of Xeleris Aladdin scripts for a local hospital, and put them online under a Creative Commons license. I just updated a few of them today.

The idea with the updates was to automatically label images. If it's an anterior image, the right side of the patient will be on the left of the image; the reverse if it's posterior. So far, it seems to be working pretty well. I asked a few of the technologists there to try to "break it" so I can make sure I haven't forgotten anything.

But what puzzles me the most was one employee's reaction: "But that will make people screw up."

I asked for clarification, and that employee said that if someone did not name a study correctly, and wasn't paying attention, then the automatic matching could mis-label the left and the right.

"Well," I told the employee, "if someone's making that big of mistakes with patients, then maybe they shouldn't be working in a hospital."

That wasn't enough for this employee. They kept insisting that these programs would "cause" errors. I think that if an employee isn't performing the study correctly and isn't paying enough attention to realize their error, that's the fault of the employee, not the program. The error, I believe, will happen anyway.

So I need your help. There really isn't more to the conversation that what I've relayed above. I tried to come to some common ground with this employee, but couldn't. I don't understand their point of view, and was having trouble communicating mine. Can any of you help? Comment here, or e-mail me at .


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