24 years of progress?

Nearly 2 months since my last post…

A 24 year old home computing magazine – Commodore power play from 1983 – ended this particular stasis. An article entitled "England takes the VIC seriously" (the VIC 20) reviewed some business applications for the platform coming out of the UK. Quoting from the piece

..the University Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, has been using VIC-FILE, and information-handling and record-manipulation programe, for some time in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetics. Patients are hooked up to a machine that monitors their blood-sugar level. If this falls below a certain figure, the shortfall is corrected by means of a quantity of insulin automatically administered intravenously.

Before VICFILE was purchased, the readings from the machine for each patient were written on paper. This not only used up a great deal of time and paper but was also prone to errors. The introduction of VICFILE also has allowed the readings for each patient to be stored on diskette. Therefore the physician can print lists of readings for each patient whenever they are needed, and can quickly assimilate the information and prescribe the proper insulin dosage.

A clever use of a piece of hardware, never intended really for business use given its massive  16k ROM – but here apparently used  quite effectively to solve a real problem; this would be the equivalent nowadays of an Excel/Access solution.

The VIC-20 may no longer be there, but the pen and paper certainly remains…

Medicom merge with Systems Solutions

From the Medicom press release

The newly-formed company aims to provide support both to and between
the primary care, secondary care and pharmacy sectors in a fully
integrated manner in the months and years ahead.The merging of these
two entities will allow for increased synergies between pharmacies and
primary care professionals which will bring time and cost benefits in
addition to benefits for patients.

IMT have interview with Howard Beggs here, the piece below is extracted from this and throws light on the 2004 takeover of the Quantum – developers of GP Clinical.

“Back in 2004,” he said, “the then owners of
GP Clinical decided the business was no longer profitable and went
about selling their business. We were one of a number of companies to
be offered the business for sale. The GPs using the GP Clinical
software were right to express frustration with the fact that the
company they had invested time and money in had been sold off, but we
were surprised to receive the brunt of that frustration. It was
perceived that the acquisition was a predatory move when, in fact, it
was quite the opposite. We simply took over the management and support
of the customer base in the hope and anticipation that the majority
would ultimately migrate to our mainstream products.”

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Demo hell

The ever candid Will Weider outlines his key objections to software demonstrations. The case as he outlines for not having this imposition, makes sense.

I have been on both sides of this particular fence many times, and agree that the usefulness of such a forum is waning. Good for the whites of eyes encounter that both parties need, but the homework must be done way in advance.

Any vendor interested in selling software should be at least be providing trial downloads/installations (for desktop software), 30 day+ access to web-based software, screencasts libraries (short videos of users interacting with key parts of the systems – see this Jon Udell piece), reference site contacts and of course documentation.

Radiologists using iPods for managing medical images

According to eWeek, an open source package called Osirix is gaining momentum as a practical way for radiologists to store and transfer medical images. It supports multiple imaging formats including DICOM.

According to the co-developer of the software –

.. "the motivation for OsiriX came from problems storing images at work. "I never have enough space on my disk, no matter how big my disk is—I always need more space," he said. "One day I realized, I have an iPod that has 40GB of storage on it. It’s twice as big as my disk on my laptop, and I’m using only 10 percent of it for my music. So why don’t I use it as a hard disk for storing medical images?"..

– so the fact that you’re not going to use your full 40gb for music is beginning to come through…