In technology, a challenge exists as companies start to scale up their software. As more users begin to use the system, the system’s performance comes under strain. If the software isn’t designed to scale, the result is a very unusable piece of technology – imagine Google taking a minute to return a search query! A key part of successfully scaling software is how it is designed in the first instance. If the technology implications are thought of for 100,000 users when the company doesn’t even have one, the likelihood of being able to scale is greatly improved. This recalls the analogy that the part of the software that the customer sees is just the tip of a much bigger iceberg. The actual performance is deep below the surface.  

This analogy can be extended to healthcare. Providing care to patients is undoubtedly more complex than 10 years ago. Advances in medicine and technology have meant doctors can provide more treatments for a more extensive list of, generally, better-understood illnesses. The restriction for the caregivers is the cost associated with any therapeutic advance.  

As budgets are set out, providers must make decisions on what levels of care they can provide based on what they will return in terms of outcomes. But beneath the surface is the running of the hospital itself and investment in this critical function. However, we know investment has lagged behind and back–office functions aren’t prioritised in the same way.  

Like software that is scaling, the question is “Can the existing back–office solutions suitably support the innovations of the front end?`’. Though the tip of the iceberg is as bright and white as ever before, beneath the surface, the ice is melting and that will ultimately lead to the iceberg tipping over. Hospitals should look to partner with back-office solutions that scale with the technological advances of the care that they provide, meaning the full value of the investment can be realised.