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What is Medical Informatics or Health Informatics Functional Consultant?

Posted Oct 07 2010 10:56pm

The world is getting computerized and no field is left aloof. Medical science, being the most vital approach for curing several health ailments, has also been highly influenced by software that not only helps in managing the health care center but can also assist doctors in diagnosing and treating the diseases. You can find Medical Informatics Functional Consultant, who is all about a doctor good at advising the IT experts about how to make medical software that would save the life of the patients rather than putting them into the danger.

 

Why Medical Informatics Functional Consultant?

 

I am a doctor and ever since I learned about computers, I am passionate about it. As the luck would have it, I was put in medical science sacrificing my mania towards those wonderful machines that would simply change the world. I did not leave computers fully but my medical studies beside; I continued playing with computers then. Anyway, let me cut the crap and directly get into the topic of what is Medical Informatics functional consultant or health care informatics functional consultant…

 

Have we ever thought about how computers are useful in medical science? Today, these machines have become integral part of our lives –whether office or personal. In the field of medical science, instruments and devices that work on or for human body have computers attached –one or the other way. For instance, the machines for MRI or CT scan have computers in them. The entire laboratory works on computers and hi-tech software that detect smallest particle or organism. So in surgery, right from endoscope to live Echo Cardio machine, all have computers and software in them.

The seriousness comes here –when the IT guys develop any software for machines, they work fine all time but when they fail, they just stop working or at the most crash the system. Nevertheless, in medical software, the object is HUMAN and not just machine crashing what makes the life lost! A computer attached with patient in Intensive Cardiac Care Unit would push certain medication automatically when the parameters of patient up or down. This would bring the vital parameters in normal range –imagine a bug in this! The machine would certainly inject without knowing the actual reading and the patient would simply collapse.

An unofficial survey reveals that there are as many as 75000 patients die due to bugs in medical software, which is quite terrible. Also, the worst thing is there is no certification or law that holds the makers of medical or health care software responsible for any mortalities occurring in hospitals and healthcare centers due to fault in software.

As a part of my academic studies in PG Diploma in Medical Informatics, I came across dozens of software developed specially for health care centers and hospitals –unfortunately they all have blunders in them! Though developed by so called reputed IT companies, they seemed to me the threats than helping hands!

While entering the data, I could enter 700 pulse per minute, 250 mmHg Systolic Blood pressure and lot of such data that would simply misguide the reader or the software itself.

The problem is here

Till date, all the software for medical science has been developed by engineers –IT experts those are veteran in their own fields but quite unaware about what all the medical data is. One of the faculties from IT background told me that they learned the actual position of X-RAY of chest (which is upside and which one is down) to be uploaded on their software after three years when a doctor said that he has to rotate image every time he uploads the X-Ray onto the software!

While making the software for anything that is related to medical science, a doctor or health care provider must be present! This is just to ensure that the software would not have blunders in it. Across the world, local governments are now implementing the rules that all health centers must have computers to store the records of patients and hence, the software for medical and surgical matter has come into picture.

Whether feeding a data of patients, put a machine to diagnose the disease or monitor/treat the patients, software have encroached the medical science. Gone are the days when you could find simple devices around the patient as today, hi-tech gadgets and medical instruments around the patients are vital tools that save the life and constantly take care of the patients.

You can hold the neck of manufacturer if your newly purchased footwear get torn within the warranty periods but you cannot even ask to explain the bug that is present in medical software that might have killed hundreds of patients!

Medical Informatics Functional Consultant

Medical Informatics Functional Consultant or Healthcare Informatics Functional Consultant is a person who is being taught several computer languages (such as C, C#, Java, XML, HTML) and applications such as ORACLE (SQL etc). As a person from medical background (doctor), he knows the seriousness of medical data to deal with. Sitting with IT experts, he can guide how software should behave and what all it should contain. Also, keeping Medical Informatics Functional Consultant while making healthcare software comes up with FAR BETTER product.

Health care Informatics Consultant can visit the hospital or health care center and learn what all is required by physicians or surgeons. He can then have words with administrator of the center and then collect the SRPs and other important information that he would convey to the team leader in medical software product at his company.

 

Medical Informatics Functional Consultant would also have knowledge of HL7 and DICOM for betterment of the software product.

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