The world doesn't stand still, and neither should your platform!

Software innovations are enabling healthcare providers to offer new capabilities that enhance the quality and longevity of their patients’ lives. The pace of innovation is only increasing, and those who stand still will be eclipsed by the disruptors who can get these capabilities into the hands of providers faster, where it will make the most difference.

Historically, new software innovations were delivered infrequently, often due to the required updates being large, complex and risky. The need to ensure patient safety further exacerbated this problem, meaning that the better patient outcomes enabled by innovation often competed with a fear of changing the status quo. The software industry has recognised this issue, and a new paradigm has emerged. Instead of delivering large updates infrequently, the industry has moved to delivering change in small, manageable, low-risk chunks that can be released frequently and with minimal impact.

Imagine a world where, instead of a change requiring hundreds of pages of documentation, it can be described in less than a paragraph. This is the principle of continuous delivery: reducing the scope of a new piece of software to the point at which it can be easily understood, and then enabling it to be delivered frequently through the use of automation. Automation ensures that changes are safe and don’t compromise on existing functionality, by allowing testing and deployment to be run in minutes – rather than days – by software robots with unparalleled speed and precision compared to their human counterparts.

The most fundamental difference this new paradigm creates is to the experience of the end users. By breaking large changes into smaller ones, users will find change to be significantly less disruptive to their workflows. When was the last time you had to read a manual before updating your Facebook or Twitter apps? The modern expectation from users is that, while change will be frequent, it will be designed in such a way that users can adopt new or enhanced capabilities that operate intuitively and builds on their previous experiences.

Continuous delivery is about more than just technology – it’s a whole new way of thinking about the world. Healthcare providers who embrace this trend will be the ones who are best prepared to make real, long term differences to the lives of their patients and citizens.

To learn more about the benefits of continuous delivery and interoperability in software solutions, download our white paper Seven A's for Precision Medicine – a world with complete medical information. The guidelines and best practices outlined at a high-level in this paper can help provide a roadmap for organisations seeking to chart the course for IT infrastructure development as part of their journey to achieve better health outcomes while reducing healthcare costs.