A story of software implementation failure out of Denmark

Large software implementations are very risky. Proceeed with cautions.
published on 2020/08/01

For three years, a dour anesthesiologist and computer architect named Gert Galster tunneled in the electronic guts of Epic Systems, trying to convert the premier U.S. digital health software into a workable hospital management system for Copenhagen and the surrounding region.

It nearly drove him mad.

After Galster and his colleagues had done what they could, 45,000 clinicians in eastern Denmark were plunged into the Epic system. Like the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Danes had expected that tech from a big IT vendor would make it easier for doctors in an excellent health care system to work, share patient information and keep tabs on costs. But the Danish experience produced results that varied from frustrating to disastrous — a sobering lesson for the VA, which recently began a transition involving another big vendor.


There is a lot of things that can be learned from massive IT failures. It is critical that decision makers are informed by the risks of such implementation and not completely bamboozled by vendors marketing and sales pitch. IT implementation changes dynamic of day to day operation of organizations. It is important that wide range of people are consulted including the potential users. A "ready" software is almost never is.