Eating your own dog food

 

Or, maybe, renewing your own prescription.

In the software business, there is an expression: “Eating your own dog food.” It refers to using the product that you are developing and trying to sell. For example, there is a Czech company — JetBrains — which makes a series of software development tools. I can guarantee that these tools are used in the development of their products. The rationale is that finding your own problems is much better than having them found by customers.

One of the “advantages” of being 77 years old is that you get a good sampling of different medical practices. The first doctor I had when I lived on my own was Dr. Livingood (the name seemed like a good omen). He had a one-man practice with a receptionist/secretary/accounting lady.

He remembered me when I got the blood test to get married, asking if I was marrying the girl whose dog had bitten me several years earlier. He pretty much did everything I needed.

Since then, the practices have gotten larger and larger and less personal. All interactions are computerized and the newest thing is a “Portal.” Each practice has its own, so the usual interaction is that I get an email that tells me I have a new message in my portal. I would then have to log in to the portal to find that I have an appointment — something I already knew.

Now comes the hard part. I need to use the portal to fill out my medical history (again). To make the programming easy, every question seeks a simple answer. For example, “When did the problem start?” There is no way to say I broke it 62 years ago and re-injured it 2 weeks ago.

So I get through all that and we are off to updating (which I don’t need to do) my insurance data. The portal shows me the last digits of the policy I have had for multiple visits and gives me the option to change that (No) or switch to cash (No). There was no way to just keep the current value.

Today was also taken up with an automated call (“Your call is very important.”) and going through the portal to renew a prescription. So far, no luck.

I am sure no one at the doctor’s office is “eating their own dog food”

I wonder what would happen if I showed up for the appointment with a bag of Kibble?

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  1. kidCoder Member
    kidCoder
    @kidCoder

    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    They all hate their systems. but there isn’t a choice.

    And no, the vendor is not dogfooding.

    • #1
  2. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Sorry that this is going on in your life.

    And in all  of   our lives. Portals might as well be called Porta-Potty-DataBase,  as  far as I can tell.

    I console myself that this only relates to my medical data, and it’s not like that data is  a matter of life or death, right?

    • #2
  3. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    This in SPADES!!!!

    • #3
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Blondie (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    This in SPADES!!!!

    And the places they’re buying from are not doctors’ offices, so why would THEY be using it?

    • #4
  5. kidCoder Member
    kidCoder
    @kidCoder

    I set up a physician on OpenEMR (his idea). He does dogfood it and somehow he likes it. Maybe it helps that it seems half the developers of the project are physicians with their own practices.

    • #5
  6. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    This in SPADES!!!!

    And the places they’re buying from are not doctors’ offices, so why would THEY be using it?

    Maybe its just me, but if I was responsible for a system, I would test it myself and get others to do it too.  In the early days- 60s or early 70s – I remember working on a program that required the operator to make a choice,  This was back in the day when everything was terminal based. The program would list  6 functions and say “pick a number from 1 to 6”.  Now, It worked fine for me, but George was the ultimate test.  The first time he saw this option, he typed “x” and crashed the program.  Lesson learned.

    I am also very curious where this data is actually going, since the PA starts the appointment by asking all the same questions, but with the ability to get a complete answer.  Then I go over it again with the doctor ….

    • #6
  7. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Blondie (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    This in SPADES!!!!

    Epic?

    • #7
  8. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    This in SPADES!!!!

    Epic?

    That’s just one of them, but they seem to have a corner on the market. I haven’t seen one yet that lives up to the bells and whistles they tout. Maybe the one @kidcoder mentions, but I haven’t had experience with it. 

    • #8
  9. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Blondie (View Comment):

    kidCoder (View Comment):
    The doctors office is just paying for the system they were told would work.

    This in SPADES!!!!

    Epic?

    That’s just one of them, but they seem to have a corner on the market. I haven’t seen one yet that lives up to the bells and whistles they tout. Maybe the one @ kidcoder mentions, but I haven’t had experience with it.

    The doctors I’ve seen over the past few years all seemed to use eClinicalWorks, something like that.

    • #9
  10. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    WillowSpring (View Comment):
    Maybe its just me, but if I was responsible for a system, I would test it myself and get others to do it too.  In the early days- 60s or early 70s – I remember working on a program that required the operator to make a choice,  This was back in the day when everything was terminal based. The program would list  6 functions and say “pick a number from 1 to 6”.  Now, It worked fine for me, but George was the ultimate test.  The first time he saw this option, he typed “x” and crashed the program.  Lesson learned.

    That brings back memories.  No one was more familiar than me with the sales and inventory programs we used in my mom’s flooring store.  I wasn’t the programmer, but I worked with the programmer to create the system.  Our “George” was named Ken.  There are errors he entered that shouldn’t have been possible, and I could not replicate.

    • #10
  11. WillowSpring Member
    WillowSpring
    @WillowSpring

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Our “George” was named Ken

    Every programmer or developer should have a George/Ken assigned to them.

    • #11
  12. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    WillowSpring (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Our “George” was named Ken

    Every programmer or developer should have a George/Ken assigned to them.

    I agree.  Ken’s ideal profession would have been software testing.  It makes sense that the first layer of testing is done by smart people.  Then you do beta testing with normal people.  But they should probably have a final “doofus” stage to see what happens with the program in the hands of people who just doesn’t want to learn anything.

    • #12
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    As the (one and only) in-house programmer at my first real job, I benefited from seeing how people actually used the software.  They started out with stuff bought from the company they bought the hardware from (and most of that software was not original with that company either:  THEY got it from another dealer too) and a few customized things written for them by the seller.  I wound up re-writing most of it myself, over time.   The system they used limited the ability to prevent certain possible problems, especially once you understood the system details as well as I did.  And frankly, the software they had bought wasn’t really written to deal with ANY of them.  But through observation it was easy for me to identify and deal with a variety of things that made it all much easier for people to use, and they appreciated it.

    The improvements I made were also adopted by the company they had originally bought the software from, and from there distributed to their other customers, and even other dealers.

    After a couple years, the dealer hired me away from that company, and my improvements and new developments reached even further; up to the manufacturer even.

    None of them were accounting companies, so the accounting software they developed, sold, supported, and was used by the dealer’s customers, was not quite “eating their own dog food.”  But that really has to be true of most such operations.  Situations as mentioned in the OP, with engineering software companies using their own software to develop and improve their engineering software to sell to other engineering companies, seems like it must be a pretty small share of the overall market.

    • #13
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