Computer Weekly’s Tony Collins now has a blog – be afraid


Veteran Computer Weekly journalist Tony Collins now has his own blog. For those who don’t know him, he is a one man Woodward and Bernstein of British IT journalism – he has been at CW for as long as I can remember (so getting on for nearly 20 years). He has exposed more incompetence and muddle headed thinking in major IT projects than probably any other journalist. A campaigning hack of the old school.

His blog should therefore give him another platform to provide more detail on the stories he uncovers.

As he says himself:

Fortunately few IT-related failures lead to deaths. One advantage of
this – and a disadvantage – is that there is not the pressure to learn
from mistakes. This blog will seek to apply a little more pressure than
now exists.

It will also look at the increasing importance of good
communications, external and internal, and oddities in the way some
organisations report bad news.

So – something for all the family. Here’s a sample of Tony’s style:

For example I was in touch yesterday with the spokesman of an NHS
trust which has had serious problems with a system for handling
electronic patient records. One of the trust’s prospective patients,
with suspected cancer, has not been seen within two weeks of an urgent
referral by a GP. This is in breach of a government target. The trust
has reported that the breach occurred because of “process issues” with
the patient record system.

Yet the trust reports a 100% success rate in meeting the target for
seeing urgent referrals for suspected cancer within two weeks. The
spokesman explained that there was a “certain level of tolerance” over
the 100% target figure.

A 99.9% success may be categorised as 100% because 99.9% is closer to 100% than 99%. This to him seemed reasonable. 

I asked him how many patients with suspected cancer can fall though
the net, and not be seen within two weeks of an urgent referral by
their GP, before a 100% success rate is reported as a 99% failure. I am
waiting for a response.


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