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{ Category Archives } Medical Informatics

Medicine and Medical Informatics

Adding Javascript to PDF Files

I use a lot of forms at work. The more paperless the office gets, the more paper we generate. Every school has its own physical exam form, every government agency has its own application form, every screening test is another form for the parent to fill out. And my handwriting is atrocious. So I try […]

Fractions and Units in PHP

For the bililite webservices, I kept all the data in what I would call "standard" American medical units, centimeters for height, kilograms for weight, mmHg for blood pressure, mg/dl for bilirubin. But lots of doctors use pounds and inches, and it would be nice to allow those as well. I could have separate data entry […]

Predictably Unhelpful

A depressing but absolutely correct editorial from Dimitri Christakis of the University of Washington in this month's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (behind a pay wall, unfortunately, but the full reference is there). [H]undreds of decision tools in a variety of forms—guidelines, practice parameters, prediction rules—have been generated. Some have been good, some bad; […]

Better Asthma Care through Technology

Part of the drudgery of medicine is all the certification and paperwork, and the petty bureaucrats who need to constantly justify their existence by creating new rules. All the rules are well-intentioned, but taken together pave the road to hell—keeping us away from our patients and actually helping people. One such well-paved path is the […]

Apple Rocks!

My ever-unreliable AT&T 8525 finally had a permanent white screen of death and, rather than be a slave to AT&T forever, decided to get a separate PDA and phone. I bought an iPod Touch and it is a world of difference. Sync'ing it to Microsoft Outlook was automatic (which never quite worked right with Microsoft […]

Brilliant Online PDF Editor

The bane of modern medicine is the paperwork, especially for a practice like mine that is largely Medicaid. If there's anything the government loves, it's paperwork. Fortunately, most of it is available electronically. Unfortunately, most of that is in PDF form, uneditable and closed. Sometimes the bureaucrats have thought to make it a fill-in form, […]

WHO you calling fat?

The Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics just recommended that pediatricians stop using the old growth charts, based on 40 years of NHANES data, and switch to new charts from the World Health Organization, for children less than 2. The NHANES study is a survey of child health from the United […]

A real pain scale

I usually don't blog about medical stuff here, but Allie Brosh's comments about the Wong-Baker pain scale are perfectly on-target. The Joint Commission accredits health care organizations and comes up with intrusive, well-intended but largely pointless standards that the rest of us have to uphold. A sort of "unfounded mandate." One of these is the […]

Engauge Digitizer Tutorial

A simple walkthrough to use the Engauge Digitizer to pull values off a "printed" graph There's a far more complete manual that comes with the download, but these are the steps I used to generate the data for the webservices graphs. It assumes you've got a black and white image of the graph, with continuous […]

Digitizing graphs

I wanted to add Down Syndrome growth charts to the webservices, but as far as I can tell, the charts are available only as images in the AAP's guidelines (and the original paper; subscription only). The often-cited has charts, and Greg Richards was generous enough to share his data with me. However, some […]