Reader Luke Schwankl writes: ‘…I occasionally drop in on the linuxmednews forum, and am always delighted to see that there are folks who continue to push an open source solution to electronic medical records. I will be heading to medical school next fall, (UNC-Chapel Hill) and from what I have seen, the computers they are selling us are all ready to go with solely Windows-based programs. Are you aware of any medical schools that are gravitating toward using more free / open source software? Just thought I’d ask. Thanks for your time…’ Thanks for a great question, Luke for which I have no answer. Do any readers know of schools that are using FOSS software for medical school education instead of the dominant paradigm? In research, such as in bioinformatics, the answer is a definitive yes but that is not your question.
Announcing the LSM 2005 Libre Software Meeting for Medicine 6th International Conference, July 5-9, 2005, at Dijon, France CALL FOR PAPERS. ‘LSM is the annual international meeting of experts (prividers and users) on new developments in free software medical systems (open source) and their applications. An important objective of the LSM/2005 is to open contacts between people from different domains mainly IT (Information Technology) and Medicine. This conference concentrates on advances in Application of Informatics in Healthcare, which implies a lot of challenges, as the value (the qualitative and economic implications) given by the expansion of health care information exchange and interoperability to the flow of clinical and other administrative data, and its importance for encouraging health care IT investment and facilitating health care reform. We wish to address the lack of real-world implementation of interoperable systems in health care. Seamless integration of local and remote records, is far more likely to offer clinicians the integrated information they need for providing optimal care. Doctors (MD), informaticians, decision makers, policy makers, etc are kindly invitited to participate to this European conference dedicated to free software for medicine mainly addresing the value of health care information exchange and interoperability.’ For further details contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstract submissions to email@example.com
Editor’s Note: This site is for news of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in medicine. The following is off-topic but I get these frequently enough that I will refer everyone to this story and thread in the future: I am a sophmore in college, and I have hopes to become a psychiatrist. I have heard some disheartning things about the lifestyle one leads at med school and on to residency. Can someone please tell me what a med school lifestyle is really like in terms of hours spent in class and studying, etc and how much free time one has. Also, the same question for residency, and if residency is overall harder or easier, and what the benefits and drawbacks are for each. My final question is: Can someone please send me in the direction of some good literature that explains exactly what med school IS, and not how to get into med school. The same for residency. THANK YOU SO MUCH, for who ever answers all of my (ignorant) questions.
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a research paper on Physician and Public attitudes towards medical errors: ‘… Though substantial proportions of the public and practicing physicians report that they have had personal experience with medical errors, neither group has the sense of urgency expressed by many national organizations…’ The study further found that only a minority of physicans were convinced that medical reforms such as computerized order entry, that have been demonstrated to be effective, would work. So much for evidence-based medicine.
The DFW Star-Telegram is reporting on how medical simulators are getting better: ‘…”If you can train health care workers in a realistic situation where they can make mistakes, nobody dies, and they learn the lesson, that will have tremendous implications for medical education and medical care,” says Dr. Donald Baim, an interventional cardiologist and director of the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital…’
Health Leaders has an article about an under-utilized resource that is likely to become more important in the near future: ‘…nearly every healthcare organization already has an expert on staff who possesses the skills needed for this shift toward knowledge- and evidence-based medicine. The core training and mission of a medical librarian is to make sure that decision-makers (scientists, physicians, health consumers, administrators) have accurate and timely information, where and when they need it, and in the format they find most useful.
Wired has a piece on the ‘ePelvis’ a ‘…truncated mannequin, equipped with a realistic set of internal reproductive organs and several strategically placed sensors…When a pelvic exam is simulated on the device, software on an attached computer shows just what’s being touched, how hard and how thoroughly…’ The article also mentions other intriguing medical simulators.
An interesting development in medical textbook making is occuring with Medical Approaches. The book is being created online with global participation and discussion. You can download it for free, review it, discuss it and add to it. Wired has a brief article on the book: ‘…Breaking the typical rules for publishing a book, Medical Approaches is a publishing process in itself — with doctors in Great Britain and around the world discussing medical care management in an open forum…’
Medscape (free login required) has a conference report on how technology is changing medical education, particularly via PDA’s. What is notably missing is actual patient records at the point of care. ‘…Currently…most medical students do not use their PDAs for patient-encounter information. Deleshia Kinney, a first-year medical student from Southern Illinois University, noted, “Right now I use my PDA for references, PBL questions, and research. I know that they will be useful for clinical encounters and annotation, once the issues of confidentiality, security, and ease of updating software have been addressed.”