Friday, April 15, 2016

Software Is Now The Leader of Change

Software has now replaced the heroics of individual human leadership as the greatest agent of change in human behavior and society.  Monumental shifts in human behavior no longer come from the inspiration of books written by John Steinbeck or Harriet Beecher Stowe, songs written by Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie, or speeches given by Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, or Mahatma Gandhi. While great leaders like these can still do great things, and evil leaders can still do evil things, both extremes are now possible through software in ways that these leaders never imagined.

Dramatic and rapid change in human behavior, both good and bad, now comes from a blog written by a common person followed by thousands or millions of common people... a picture of a dead immigrant infant washed upon the shore of Greece and posted on Instagram... a video of a policeman shooting an unarmed, non-threatening teenager posted on YouTube... the movement to overthrow a dictator, propelled by Twitter...  millions of secret documents about the National Security Agency or Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, shared with millions of people with the click of a mouse to a web site... or relentless, anonymous taunts and bullying on Facebook that lead to a victim's suicide.

For those of us in the software business, we are obligated to apply our skills to the betterment of humanity, not to its detriment. This is especially true for those of us in healthcare software.  So far, the application of software to the betterment of patient care and the overall health of the communities, states, and country that we serve is despairingly low.

It's time for all of us who practice software in healthcare to radically up our game.

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