I have been authoring this post for about two weeks now… I have been delaying finishing it in the hopes that I receive news that our beloved Tarek is being released. I realize now that it is becoming increasingly unlikely that that will happen anytime soon. And so here we go…
Tarek and I have talked many times about the future of EMLondon. In fact, the last conversation we had, which took place a mere 3 hours before he was arrested, was about this very subject. I didn’t often disagree with Tarek, but when it came to this I did.
When I took the website over in 2006, it was simply to provide a secure place to view and store our schedules. Around the same time, web technologies had begun to evolve beyond simply serving pages, and I saw an opportunity to incorporate these into our academic and clinical environments, in the hopes of streamlining existing processes but ultimately with the goal of improving patient care through the free exchange and sharing of information. While this has happened in many other industries, medicine continues to lag behind significantly, as is often the case (why this is still escapes me, although I do have my theories). My attempts to bring the group into the 21st century has failed on every front: electronic staff directory, discussion forums, online sharing of academic & teaching materials, electronic academic calendar… I could go on but you get the point. I also want to be clear that this has nothing to do with money. One of the many things I have learned from Tarek is that while money is necessary, it should never be important, as it causes one to lose focus of the actual goal.
And so in light of this and given Tarek’s ongoing absence, I have made the decision to cease development of everything related to EMLondon. I have outlined a plan below of how to replace the various functions that are still in use.
[li]Kitab is a completely separate application and will continue to function independently. My plan going forward will be to continue development of Kitab, as I know that is what Tarek would want me to do. This will not be an easy task, as I had not been closely following his development of it in the past 12 months or so, and so I will have to go back and look at every line of code before I even start thinking about adding to it.[/li]
[li]The shift evaluations can either[/li][/ul]
[li]Be done directly in One 45. I explored this briefly before I created the online form, and could facilitate trying to set this up.[/li]
[li]Go back to paper[/li]
[li]The housestaff & peds schedules (which are still Excel or PDF based) can be managed in one of two ways:[/li]
[li]Via a shared local drive on the LHSC network. People could then access them simply by logging into their LHSC desktop[/li]
[li]Via Google Docs which is how the chief residents manage their own schedule currently - the more elegant solution in my opinion, but I suspect it will be seen “too much trouble” by many.[/li]
[li]The academic calendar is simply a Google calendar which can continue independently if people so desire. I suspect I am the only one who uses it (other than Doran) and so if I am correct about that, I will simply close the account.[/li]
[li]There are several “static information” pages that get hit reasonably frequently (the OHIP code page, the ODB-LU code page and the FAQ). Those pages could easily be served on the LHSC intranet. Surprisingly, clinical informatics does not manage the intranet, and so I’m not sure who to talk to about that, but I’m sure no one would object.[/li]
[li]In terms of maintaining a divisional presence on the web, I would suggest getting in touch with someone at Western to determine who manages the departmental/divisional pages for virtually every other div/dept. They all look very similar, and after inspecting the code, it is clear that many have been designed by the same person. I’m sure there is a fee for this, however I suspect it’s reasonable or no one would have a page up at all.[/li]
When Tarek returns, he may choose to resurrect the existing site (a trivial task) or, more likely, develop something from scratch himself. He has wanted to do that from day one (for the same reason an external developer would want to) but I have told him repeatedly if he did, I would have to bail, as I did not any interest in learning yet another language. He has always been completely understanding of that, and has supported everything I have done or tried to do with the website. In addition, he has always said that if I wasn’t on board with whatever changes he was considering, then he wouldn’t do it. I wanted to share that with everyone so that people have an understanding why I am neck deep in the free Tarek campaign - he is a true friend whom I trust implicitly - which I know most of you know is not an easy thing to find.
I welcome your comments / opinion / input on the matter, but I want to be clear that this is a not question I am posing, it is a statement of fact. I will reconsider Tarek’s plan of starting from scratch upon his return, whenever that is.
Thanks for taking the time to read all of that.
EDIT: 2013-09-21 1955
I have received a number of emails and realize now that the above post may sound a bit whiny. That was not my intention, nor am I trying to solicit kudos. I tried to present the information as fact rather than opinion.
With respect to the emails, I would appreciate it if people post their thoughts here so that everyone can read them.
EDIT: 2013-09-22 2230
I have now also realized that I failed to mention that I am in fact paid for at least some of the work we do. I have no idea what pot the $$ comes out of - I submit an invoice to Gary for hours worked and he cuts me a cheque. Tarek has never wanted any $$, and actively declined taking anything. But like I said - it’s not about the $$.