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[Gnumed-devel] reference plots (was: normcurves)

From: Karsten Hilbert
Subject: [Gnumed-devel] reference plots (was: normcurves)
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 12:53:18 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/

As promised here's my take on what might ensue from Christof's
normcure proposal.

The Leipzig University Children's Hospital does well renowned
work on growth patterns in the young. This is the knowledge we
may be able to tap into. Given that legal issues do not block
our path a vast pool of data may also be available as a
reference set.

The Leipzig hospital has contracts with many GP offices
(children's GPs to be precise) where the GPs can send in
patient growth data for screening for growth abnormalities. If
need be the patients may then be invited to come in for a more
comprehensive growth checkup. This sending in of data and
subsequent patient invitation is currently done on paper.

The outcome of a cooperation between GNUmed and this
established network might be such that (in simple terms)

a) GNUmed incorporates code that allows clinicians to
   immediately see freshly calculated growth plots giving an
   indication of whether there seems something amiss with this
   patient's development based upon rather sound (and current!)
   scientific knowledge. This is what amounts to the
   clinician's side of the equation in terms of advantages.
b) GNUmed may then be told to electronically send off (say,
   via encrypted e-mail) a request for revision to the Leipzig
   hospital. This will obviously only be available for
   contracting practices. The advantage for Leipzig children's
   hospital would be a sizeable reduction of manual labour in
   keying in paper requests (also reducing errors in the

How will all this bode with clinicians ?

GNUmed (or a partial version thereof) can be provided to
clinicians free of charge (and with source code) to use at
their offices. Obviously, they won't suddenly switch from
using their established practice management system to using
GNUmed to run all their business (which desire we couldn't
satisfy at the moment anyways). However, any practice
management software of note has some sort of interface for
attaching external programs handing over at least demographic
data of the currently selected patient. Many do this via a
well-published text format called xDT (for which, incidentally,
GNUmed already has an import facility :-))

Thusly GNUmed can be installed alongside the currently used
system and just be used for harvesting patient data from this
text interface upon request as well as providing a convenient
way of entering, storing and displaying growth data.

This might be one way of leveraging GNUmed into "normal"
doctor's offices (yes, it needs leverage even while it's

A second approach based on the same principle can be our
document database that (still) makes its way towards a 0.1
(1.0 ?) release.

Yet another way, and a pet pipe dream of mine, is lab results
storage/display. While Richard's GUI may be more efficient for
day-to-day (full) use of GNUmed there may well be an
alternative interface (such as another bottom tab page) for a
more comprehensive lab results overview. The prerequisites for
this are rather good: Lab results are routinely transmitted
via modem in a well-known text format. Patient data can be
carried across via the abovementioned interface. Patient
sample codes have to be typed in anyways - it doesn't matter
much whether that'd be in GNUmed or elsewhere. Also, the
argument would be that doctors would not loose their data and
not even their accustomed user interface for lab data when
switching practice management software.

So much for that,
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