Any Sufficiently Advanced Technology is Indistinguishable from Magic

VitalSite-MagicI have a quote on the wall of my office stating what’s commonly known as Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law:

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Think about a few common technologies – cell phones, televisions and airplanes. These were once thought to be the exclusive province of the supernatural. While they’re truly remarkable, we now take them for granted. Have you gotten angry when your phone drops a call when driving through a tunnel or when a flight that takes you across the country in the morning is delayed for an hour or two?

These are big, flashy examples of technology at work. Sometimes the greatest magic is in the things that just work, and one day you realize just how amazing that seemingly simple task actually is.

Great software can be that way.

Software can be simply built, but that simplicity often makes it difficult to use – difficult to accomplish complex tasks. Software can also be complex in a way that, again, makes it complex to use.

Great software, however, is complex when built to make it easy to use. Great software does complex things effortlessly.

I’ve been working with our engineering team and have realized there’s software magic in VitalSite, our content management system.

We have a technology in VitalSite called SmartPanels. SmartPanels break down the natural silos of healthcare content by connecting related content automatically, like linking a heart service line page to cardiologists and heart health classes. On the surface this is pretty straight-forward, but health system websites aren’t simple. There are often many websites and microsites as part of a single content management system install – even within a single site, there could be several places where a provider page may exist.

So when a physician appears in a SmartPanel, where does that link lead?

And that’s the magic. VitalSite just finds the right one automatically.

We’re doing the same thing with our new integration of the Krames Staywell online content library. We’re going beyond the typical health library integration of site search and related documents. We’re allowing search and results pages to appear where they’re needed. We’ve even created ways to pull pages of licensed content right into pages in your website. The goal here is to incorporate content into the core visitor experience rather than stapling it on the side with a few crosswalks back and forth.

Here again, the magic happens!

Because when a SmartPanel links to a Krames Staywell article, you don’t want it arbitrarily jumping off to a page somewhere. If you’ve put that article on a page nearby, that’s where you want to go  If you’re on a facility page or a microsite for a campaign, you don’t want people launched to a site three states away – you want to stay within that facility website or microsite.

So that’s exactly what you get.

Sometimes, really advanced technology is actually more like a slight of hand – the result is pretty neat, but you can’t actually see how the trick is done… and that makes it seem just like magic.

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Ben Dillon

About Ben Dillon

Ben’s a big picture type of guy. He loves sharing new ideas in digital marketing, keeping a watchful eye on healthcare industry trends and seeing how it all intersects. A sought-after speaker, writer, blogger and current SHSMD board member, Ben’s an influential voice in healthcare marketing, helping organizations across the country embrace online strategies to engage health consumers. Combine his industry savvy with his background in software development and you can see why he’s also an important member of Geonetric’s software team, ensuring our content management system stays a step ahead of market needs. Ben holds a master’s degree in eBusiness and strategic management from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the University of Michigan. When he’s not traveling and evangelizing, Ben enjoys cooking with his family and playing the Big House with the University of Michigan Alumni marching band.

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