Custom Application Development

Apr 25 2008   5:42PM GMT

The Buy, Build or Ignore Decision

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

A recent visit to a doctor’s office this week channeled my thinking once again toward the simple applications that can save time in any environment.  As I was checking in at the registration desk, it was noted that they did not have the latest copy of my insurance card.  I gave the receptionist my card, and card in hand she walked to the back of the office to the copier, where she leisurely made a paper copy of first one side and then the other.  She then walked back to the front of the office and passed my card back to me, adding the two 8-1/2X11 mostly blank sheets of paper to my file.

This was one of those times when I wished I had a stopwatch in my pocket.  Yes, it has become just a part of her daily routine.  It seems like nothing, but this is a very busy office, and the receptionist figures she makes that trip at least 20 times per day.  I know that this journey of hers took approximately 1 minute, and used two sheets of paper.  Anyone care to estimate the cost of doing this on a yearly basis?  Monthly? Daily?  It certainly adds up!

Now, what might it take to create a simple application to scan and electronically store this information?  Recently the most requested functionality I’ve been adding to my custom programs have involved scanning application integration.  One can get as complicated or as simple as desired — and a high level of integration can be costly.  However, a simple database coupled with a scanner can be a powerful addition – even if only a temporary one.  It wouldn’t take much time before the cost of such a simple solution paid for itself.

Anyone else see inefficiencies easily and cost effectively addressed (even if incompletely)?  I see them all around me — but maybe I’m the only one :-)  I suspect not however.  I commonly hear from clients that they’ve tried the idea of scanning “…but it was too complicated…”.  It needn’t be, but scanning applications like so many others have fallen prey to the “bloat” we have unfortunately become accustomed to.

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