E-health – That’s one small step for the developer, one giant leap for healthcare digitization.
What are the specifics of working on a project for the Ministry of Health? An interview with Marek Jakubowski, who shared with us his experience of working on the P1 project (e-health).
The P1 project, formally defined as the “Electronic platform for collecting, analyzing and sharing digital resources on medical occurrences” involves the implementation of systems and solutions that will improve the planning and delivery of health services. Marek has been working on the project since 2018. He knows it inside out, so he agreed to answer a few questions.
AM: Let’s start with how long you have been working at TT PSC and when have you started on the e-health project? What is exactly your role in this project?
Marek Jakubowski: I work in PSC for over 3 years now, although I also applied for the internship before. I didn’t get it then, but I have worked on my knowledge, developed my competencies, and finally got a job. Currently, I am a Software Developer, and that’s also my role in the project. Although sometimes, there are additional tasks in the scope typical for architects. You have to be flexible here!
AM: Is it good or not really?
MJ: It’s great! For those who are not afraid of challenges, of course 😉 I have to highlight here that the P1 project is not just one application or one product. Currently, we are working on the gabinet.gov.pl and pacjent.gov.pl websites, but the scope is dynamic. Ad hoc topics appear frequently. There is no fixed framework, and we have to adapt to it.
AM: Can you get used to it?
MJ: Sure! It’s a matter of attitude. This is not your typical work with a set frame. Thanks to that, it is never boring. Jumping between areas is a great experience – continuous development and a lot of new competencies. You have to adapt to deliver, as soon as possible, complete functionalities to the end customer- medical worker and the patient. Actually, you could say to each of us.
AM: What has been delivered so far? Can you reveal what new solutions will be introduced soon?
MJ: I can certainly talk about those that are already functioning and available to everyone. That includes the patient’s online account, e-prescriptions, and e-referrals for examinations and procedures. Those turned out to be crucial in the current pandemic situation alongside the functionality allowing access to the medical records for the person with a granted power of attorney, like a parent or legal guardian. The real importance and need for this project have been verified this year by… the life itself. Today it is hard to imagine a situation when patients would have to visit doctor’s offices in person for every prescription or referral. E-health solves this problem. Thanks to this solution, people do not have to queue up or even leave the house.
AM: Exactly! this project is very important from the perspective of every citizen. Your friends and family also use the products you are working on. Do you feel pressure? After all, you have a real influence on how e-health will work.
MJ: I wouldn’t say it’s pressure, but I am aware that what I do is important and has a real impact on people. It feels good. It’s also easier to talk about what I’m doing with someone who doesn’t know the industry and has no idea what Software Developer does (there are people like that, really!). Other projects are difficult to imagine and visualize for people without a technical background. The industrialization of IoT solutions in a production plant does not really sound exciting to many. The digitization of health care, however, is a topic that is close to them. Everyone knows the final product – it is strongly promoted. There is a massive information campaign in the media as soon as the new solution appears.
AM: The Ministry of Health is also not our “typical customer”. Do you see any differences in your daily work? In the approach or setting project goals?
MJ: There are quite a few differences, especially in terms of work organization. First of all, various companies and subcontractors, who form several teams, work on the P1 project. There are 9 of us in mine and two people from outside the TT PSC. There is also an external Product Owner who sets business goals and oversees their implementation. At the same time, they give us a lot of freedom with the solutions and tools that we use. The technical path is created on an ongoing basis. Here we really have a chance to prove ourselves.
AM: Usually, the more people involved, the more disagreements. What does communication look like in such a large and dispersed team? How do you all get along?
MJ: Communication is absolutely crucial here – it must be efficient and up to date, leaving no room for doubts or misunderstandings. We’ve been doing pretty well in this matter so far. Besides regular meetings with the client’s representative, we also have internal brainstorms and talks for solving current problems. This constant communication through all available channels (on-line, of course) takes a lot of time, but it is essential. I believe that applies to every project. This one especially, though, because of how complex it is and how many people are working on it.
AM: If you had to sum up this experience in one sentence, what would it be?
MJ: An extremely demanding, dynamic and development-motivating experience.
The P1 project is very extensive, and its implementation is scheduled for years. The first stage has been completed so patients all over Poland can use the first e-health services already. You can read about the implemented solutions and the details of the project in our Case Study.
This is another entry in our series of interviews with employees. The previous one is available here.