Thursday, October 01, 2009

Why Don't I Trash Amicas?

Anonymous (who cleverly surfed to my site under InPrivate or some other blocking system) has this to say about my latest Agfa bash:
Oh my.. while I appreciate, and actually anticipate, your posts, is anyone else getting sick and tired about hearing of the pitfalls of every vendor EXCEPT Amicas? Come on!! First of all, I agree with you as I am not a fan at all of GE, Agfa, Siemens, and many others. In addition, I am also an Amicas user!! However, my system crashes and my system has issues, just as does every system out there. I think, and this is just my honest opinion, that readers would better appreciate unbiased views as continuing to knock the others and failing to mention your own products shortcomings is a little silly. However, this is your Blog!!! (And I still love it.....)
I really do appreciate any readership I get, and I thank Anonymous for his (her?) comments.

I have, over the years, dealt with the issue of me and Amicas. No, they don't pay me, and yes, I am a loyal user. I go out of my way to point out on most occasions that I do not believe the Amicas product is perfect. And it isn't. There isn't a "perfect" system out there. I favor LightBeam (and soon Halo) because it lets me work in the manner I prefer, with minimal obstruction.

We have had problems, and service has on rare occasions been imperfect. However, the problems do get fixed, and therein lies the difference. By and large, Amicas listens.

I rant about the other vendors because there are times when this is the only way to get their attention. The recent situation with Agfa is quite telling in this regard. The glitch causing the client to crash is a known problem, and we have been trying to get it fixed for months. The client crash is bad enough, but the examination that was on-screen at the time of the crash DISAPPEARS for several minutes. It cannot be found on the worklist or by searching. Several exams have gone unread because of this, and that impedes patient care. Early on in this process, Agfa's lower tier response was simply, "We're talking about it. Change your workflow in the meantime." That is NOT acceptable, and when I'm backed up to the wall on something like this, I use the one tool I have at my disposal, and that is what you see here. I have since heard from higher levels, and I hope there will be more progress.

To date, I have not had to go through this with Amicas. Yes, we have had problems (the damn thing runs on Windows, after all!) but they have been solved. Occasionally it takes several tries. But Amicas has the good sense not to ignore problems and not to make it seem as if it's asking too much to fix them. IF they do, I will post about it, but frankly, I'm not expecting that to happen.

The biG Entities out there have systems designed by engineers for some vague prototypical customer, and clearly, some of their solutions suck. I said this directly to one of the senior GE folks to whom I was introduced at the DI booth at RSNA a few years back. The old Centricity Web, for example, is absolutely unusable. The poor GE exec looked like I had just killed his dog. Extrapolating a bit, I take this response, and a lot of what I see and hear, to mean that the folks designing this stuff have absolutely no clue whatsoever how we, the radiologists, use their very expensive products. This filters down to service as well. The suggestion of a workflow change in the current troubles is not a bad idea, in that there are ways to keep the rads from getting their grubby cursors on unfinished exams. BUT, using that approach as a fix for a client-crashing error doesn't cut it, and it shows some level of disconnect between vendor and customer.

You might think I sit in the corner with my laptop, cackling with glee every time I write something nasty. Nothing could be further from the truth. Frankly, I hate bashing. I'm scared of the trouble I could cause the company involved, as well as my group, my hospital, and myself. But sometimes, ya gotta do what ya gotta do, know what I mean?

Nordstrom's among only a few remaining retailers follows the old dictum of "The customer is always right." I don't think I'm always right, but I know how my end of the business works, and I know when something isn't working. An issue that sinks to the level of appearing here simply hasn't been adequately addressed. Really, all I need is for the vendors to listen and respond to their customers, me in particular. I hope that isn't asking too much.

Please do keep on reading, Anonymous! Perhaps you could send me a list of your problems, and we'll compare notes.

In the meantime, maybe I'll find something else to trash!

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