How Technology Will Create A Safer Healthcare System

It’s one of those great conundrums. Despite medicine being a highly intellectual field often at the cutting edge of science, we all too often remain near the bottom in terms of our information technology use. Maybe it’s the culture of medicine, a view that one should master everything and do everything despite knowing that this is an impossible goal? Maybe it’s lagging on the part of administration who may not understand the potential role of technology in the daily workflow of their physicians? Or maybe it’s just that we as a profession have never sat down and tried to understand what we’re missing, what we can do, and where we should go with the incorporation of informatics technology?

I choose to believe it is largely the last of these: that we as a profession have not yet began to put proper thought and action to purpose in terms of intelligently using technology to augment our abilities as clinicians. Continue reading

The Electronic Health Record – Where We Are, Where We’re Going

No situation is more devastating to an industry than to be data rich and information poor. Unless we can effectively use our data to get information, then we may as well not even have the data.

There are a variety of EHRs on the market right now – PowerChart, Quadramed, Amazing Charts, SOAPware, to name but a few – and they all do pretty much the same thing – display data about a patient. Essentially, they’ve become a digital version of the paper charts. Sure, they look nicer, are easier to use, and let you quickly find information, but for most purposes, they really don’t do much more than a traditional paper chart does.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Continue reading

7 of the Best Free Medical Education Apps for the iOS Platform

Whether you are studying to become a health care professional, are a patient, or just want a way to use your iPhone or iPad as a powerful learning tool, there are tons of medical apps out there that can help you.  But with so many out there, how do you choose the right one?  To help, we have gathered seven of the best medical apps out there at no cost.

  1. Medical Encyclopedia – Get just what the title promises in this free app.  Provided by the University of Maryland Medical System, you can get top notch information on this handy little app.  It has a whopping 50,000 pages of relevant medical information and is even available in Spanish.
  2. Skyscape Medical Resources – If the above didn’t do the job, try looking up your medical topic here.  Over one million users have downloaded it get medical resources from doctors to students to patients.
  3. WebMD – This leading medical site has both an app for the iPhone and iPad offered for free. It includes many site favorites such as a symptom checker, first aid tips, conditions, and even a pill identification tool if you have pills but don’t know what they are.
  4. NEJM – What’s new in medicine?  Get this app from “The New England Journal of Medicine” to find out.  It contains the latest medical research, findings, and even expert opinions on the latest in health care.  You can also access many features without a subscription.
  5. Blausen Human Atlas – The real version may cost $19.99, but the lite version of the app is available for free.  It contains amazing 3D, narrated animations of medical conditions, as well as a medical glossary and tons of images.
  6. Epocrates – If looking for medical information on drugs, check out this free app.  They are one of the most widely used apps on the topic and offer information on prescription drugs, over the counter, and even diagnostic resources.
  7. Medical Spanish – If you need to say or read it in Spanish, check out this app.  Many doctors and nurses use it to help them communicate with patients who speak Spanish.  It even offers over 250 questions to help you learn.

About the Author: Casey Roberts is a undergraduate student in Houston, TX and also writes for Radiology Assistant, a site dedicated to helping students find the right radiology degree. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily represent those of this site.

Health Informatics

These slides go along with a presentation I put together on health informatics. Included are current concepts of health informatics, applications of the field, prior concepts, mathematics and probability-based systems and emerging concepts.

This presentation is available for download via Slideshare should you wish to reuse materials contained within.

Rethinking Medical Education

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Medical education and medicine are topics about which I often find myself thinking. I’m always interested in the questions of “Are we doing it the best way?”, “Is there a better way?”, “How do we adapt the fields to emerging changes?”, and so on. Too often I come to the conclusion that we’re not keeping up with advancements and, as Wayne Gretzky might have put it, we’re skating to where the puck is, and not to where it is going.  Continue reading

Abraham Verghese: A doctor’s touch

Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

Link: Abraham Verghese: A doctor’s touch

Ben Goldacre: Battling Bad Science

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they’re right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.

This is an excellent presentation on what is wrong with science today. While the data itself may not lie, the interpretations can be made to say nearly anything the researcher wants it to.

EDIT: Due to format restrictions, the video is partially cut off. Here’s the link to the video on TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/eng//id/1234

Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World

Kevin Slavin argues that we’re living in a world designed for — and increasingly controlled by — algorithms. In this riveting talk from TEDGlobal, he shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture. And he warns that we are writing code we can’t understand, with implications we can’t control.


Introductory Statistics

These are the slides that go along with a talk I gave on introductory statistics. Included is a discussion of basic concepts, confidence intervals and other key concepts of statistical analysis. This talk is geared toward analysts or researchers that already have some understanding of analysis.

This presentation is available for download via Slideshare should you wish to reuse materials contained within.

Pediatric Radiology

These are the slides that go along with a talk I gave recently on pediatric radiology. Included are some statistics on imaging, revision of guidelines for pediatric patients, a dosing table for procedures in mGy and six clinical cases including aortic coarctation, copper beaten skull, osteogenesis imperfecta, cystic fibrosis, Tetralogy of Fallot and Aicardi syndrome.

This presentation is available for download via Slideshare should you wish to reuse materials contained within.

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