From the administrative to the life-saving (or both at once), medical software in its numerous forms is potentially a powerful complement to the work of any medical professional.

Some of the earliest medical software was Mycin; Mycin was what is now called an expert system and was developed in the seventies. An expert system is a system with analysis and decision making capacities in a particular domain- in Mycin’s case, infection. Using the latest in medical knowledge at the time, Mycin analysed data in bacterial infection cases and came up with a recommendation as to a treatment medication and its dosage. Mycin was accurate in 69% of cases, while this may not sound very accurate, it was actually more accurate than the performance of the infectious disease experts it was compared against. Though the system was never used in real cases, it laid the foundation for later systems which are beginning to supplement medical decision making.

At the other end of the spectrum there’s billing, certain kinds of record keeping and administration. Every professional knows- complex layers of bureaucracy, both public and private, surround medical practice, webs which can be almost as difficult to navigate as medical science itself. It’s unsurprising then that medical practices have often been early adopters of specialised software for database management, billing, appointment scheduling and so on. The best administrative software isn’t just excel spreadsheet with a new skin- it actively collates information, cross checks it, and in some cases checks it against official records. In its most ideal form such software should not only support administration, but enable holistic monitoring and support for patient health, doing everything from reminding them of when a check-up is due to maintaining lines of communication more generally.

There’s plenty of software that exists in the middle between these two extremes- admin focused and treatment focused. For example, software designed to act as a database of patient details often combines elements, and certain details, like phone number and address, can be transferred between the two. Of course this creates important privacy questions- how much information is enough and how much is too much? It will come as no surprise that security and privacy are of paramount importance generally when it comes to medical software- a common pattern in specialised software for professionals such as lawyers and architects.

Some of the most interesting work in our opinion (and we’re biased because we’re doing some of it ourselves!) is in diagram based visualisation. It’s one thing to know a great amount of detail about the various ventricles of a patient’s heart and their condition, but imagine auto-generated diagrams to supplement this understanding- not only potentially useful for treatment, but also for patient education.

To sum up then: Human judgement is in no immediate danger of being replaced by machine precision, but supplementation is a welcome addition- for the beleaguered admin staff team or for the doctor who just wants to double-check whether or not two medications might interact. Supplementing our under-pressure health system through the power of technology affords opportunity save effort, create value and save lives. We anticipate a bright future for medical technology.

If you’re interested in talking about ways software could assist you and your business –whatever that might be- give us a call now on 9199 9666.