Barrett Franklin: Connectivity Conference Focuses on ‘Wicked Problems’

As we face “wicked problems,” Dr. Julian Goldman opened the Fourth Annual Medical Device Connectivty Conference & Exhibition in Boston with some locally sourced vocabulary and words of interest. In Boston, seemingly everything is wicked, but the “wicked problem”–a term coined and defined years back–is an apt lead-in on discussions of interoperability and interconnectivity. In fact, in part a”wicked problem” can be defined as a problem in which we may not know all the facets until we believe to have a solution in hand.

Later presentations have focused not only on interconnectivity, as the conference title infers, but also on interoperability, seemingly back and forth as though the two are synonymous. Interestingly, much of the conversation is on where we think we’re headed and how we might get there. Perhaps tomorrow might provide insight on instances of success, small or large, where we have achieved in this arena.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the AAMI/FDA Interoperability Summit presentation by Carol Davis-Smith; it again proved to ground many aspects of the discussion. Proving not only that we recognize the problems at hand but the desire and aim to work methodically towards solutions which work for all of us, providers and vendors alike.

Barrett Franklin, MS CCE
Chief Clinical Engineer | VA New England Healthcare System



One thought on “Barrett Franklin: Connectivity Conference Focuses on ‘Wicked Problems’

  1. I agree that connectivity and interoperability are not synonymous, though they tend to be used interchangeably by most people. The fact that you can “connect” one system to another does not mean that they are exchanging information in a useful way, that is just the first step. Once they are connected, the amount of effort to get these systems to do useful work is a function of the “level of interoperability”.

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