Saturday, May 5, 2012

Farewell HealthcareIT.SE

So I know that I've been absent lately as far as posting is concerned... new jobs always tend to push me underground for a little while. I'll be back up to breathe again soon, but I daresay I might end up with less 'tech' and more 'life'. But we'll see.

I did want to take a quick moment though and just give a shout out to the now closed 'Healthcare IT Stack Exchange' site. This SE site got as far as public beta, but was closed yesterday due to essentially a lack of support.

Going in I knew that it would be a hard fought battle for that site to get traction, but I hoped against hope that it would. Yes, there are other support sites out there for healthcare IT providers. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough but from the few ones I've found, they seem to be either targeted at one particular aspect or product or their not free. Yes, there are other IT support sites out there and I use them regularly. In fact, the reason I knew about the healthcare IT Stack Exchange was because of the regular usage I make of Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites. But don't be fooled: healthcare IT has a lot of nuances, acronyms and assumptions that mainstream IT does not. A normal IT support site cannot do what the dedicated healthcare IT SE site did.

I don't consider this to be a rant. It's just an observation. I find it hard to believe that there's not enough people to make a go of a site like that. I have no doubt, though, that getting enough people to know of it's existence is another problem altogether.

There are a lot of healthcare IT workers. Deep down, I wonder if the lack of support of this site is a reflection on the demographics more than anything. I get the feeling that in healthcare, you're almost always a massive conglomerate and yet I've always felt that Stack Overflow and it's SE offspring are more 'startup-y' than other support sites.

To me, at least, healthcare IT requires some startup shake-up. That's why I am where I am at the moment. It's why I'm also rooting for companies like Drchrono.

Anyway, back to the site: it was a great thing to see that site start up and it's a shame that it never materialised into what it could have become.

Let this just be my public thanks to Steve Wranovsky for proposing the site in the first place, and to all of the people that tried to make a go of it. I did my best to make it active, even if it was just an answer or two and an off topic question :)

Whatever the outcome, I know that there is a need for a site like this and hopefully it will come into existence at some point in the future, once we get enough startups focused on this well deserving industry.