Tonight I attended a session on the new Brazilian Public Health Care System which centralizes the administration of patients medical history, scheduling of and authorization of (expensive) treatments, medication, etc. It is an all encompassing system for the previously jaded health care system.

Before the introduction people had to go to their doctors, which would need to gain authorization to prescribe for instance a MRI scan by using lots of paper transported by motor cyclists. When the authorization came through (delivered on lots of paper by motorcycle no doubt) the patient would recieve a note stating 'You are allowed to get a MRI scan' and would be responsible to find a hospital having a MRI scanner and not too long a waiting list. All in all, a patient would be pretty lucky to have his guts scanned within a few months (for values of few larger than 3).

In comes the health care system, eliminating all paperwork, educating people to use computers (people who haven't touched a computer mouse in their lives), and shortening the MRI scanning wait from > 3 months to a mere month. This system saves lives, makes people connect with the current state of technology, improves their job quality, etc.

I have only one thing to say to this: WOW!

The system was developed by 30 developers (the total team size is unknown by me) in 4 months of crunching code. Astonishing! They used Struts, EJB, maven, XDoclet, junit, ant, APT, eclipse, netbeans, etc. They took out the whole open source stack and created a very complex and complete system. Unfortunately for the friendly Brazilians, they started working on the system in january 2004, so Wicket was not there to help them out :-). Congratulations on this piece of great social engineering and I hope to hear more later.