A few months ago, I signed up to be a beta-tester for Intelerad’s new IntelePacs InteleViewer, hoping they would consider me InteleGent enough to help them out. I guess I’ve been doing a little too much muckraking lately, as I received this letter from Rick Rubin, Intelerad’s Executive VP for R&D:
I see you’ve signed up for our Beta program. I think that’s great, with one proviso (can you guess?). I wouldn’t be comfortable giving you an advanced copy of the InteleViewer if you’re going to write about all its flaws on your blog. Our goal for the Beta release is to get exposure and experience with different PACS systems and users out there but with limited exposure so that we can find out and resolve any major issues before releasing the product. So, it kind of defeats the point if you publicize those problems.
Once we’re in general release, you’re obviously free to do whatever you want, and hopefully we can live up to your scrutiny. But for the Beta program, do you agree not to publish information on the viewer?
OK, Rick, here it is in print (well, if you hit Ctrl-P, you’ll have it in print): I promise to behave, and I will not reveal any details of your beta product. I have little more than my crediblity, since my rogueish good looks have long since left me, and no one has ever accused me of being the best radiologist in the world. So, yes, you can trust me.
Blogging is a little like being a real author, but I don’t have to answer to anyone. Therefore, I have to be my own editor and publisher, but I get to say whatever I want to say. The major joy of this exercise is knowing that someone is actually reading my illustrious prose, but even so, my goal is to be more like the Today Show than the Jerry Springer Show. I would like to entertain and inform, but I’m not out to ruin anybody or any company. However, I am not going to sugar-coat a bad product. When I bash a product, it is out of frustration borne of using something that wasn’t ready for primetime (or was poorly designed in the firstplace) but was released as a full production model anyway.
Don’t worry, Rick, I realize that a beta test is a beta test, and I am gratified that YOU understand it as well. There are those who use paying customers to work the kinks out of their software (actually, Microsoft comes to mind on that one), and I don’t have time for that when I’m trying to do my work. I cannot think of any other major PACS vendor that has taken this bold step of allowing a large number of interested users to help test and shape a new product, although Rick mentioned something to me about eFilm back in the good old days doing something like this.
I’m expecting great things out of Intelerad. I’ll report on this product when Rick gives the OK.