Archive for the ‘Medical Informatics’ Category

I've been spending my project time learning how to manipulate images in PHP to let me create custom growth charts and the like, with a RESTful interface that would allow them to be used as the source of <img> elements. I like the way things turned out; they are available at It includes height,weight, head circumference, peak expiratory flow (for managing asthma), blood pressure and bilirubin levels. While it took a fair amount of trial-and-error to get things to work, I don't think there's much that's innovative enough programming-wise to write a tutorial.

I want to get it to parse the Accept: header, so users can leave out the file extensions, but it looks like browsers don't implement that correctly, so I'll have to keep using extensions as well.

I still need to learn more about caching and effectively using eTags and all the headers that go with it. It always makes my brain hurt.

My hospital isn't fully electronic yet; they use a hybrid system where doctors notes and orders are written on paper, to be scanned into the electronic chart at the end of the patient's stay. Everything else (nurse's notes, labs, radiology results) are electronic. It actually works pretty well, with most of the advantages of an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) without forcing the older doctors to use the computer. That's coming, of course, but it won't be pretty.

But those of us for whom the computer is mother's milk, and whose handwriting is somewhere between chicken scratch and Linear A, we'd rather do it all online. I've been writing my admission notes for a few years with a Microsoft Word template, printing them out and putting them in the chart, with nary a problem. And the medical records department clearly used PDF's for the pages, both the blank order sheets and the preprinted, fill-in-the-blanks "standard orders" since they were available on the hospital intranet. So let's create PDF's with actual editable text boxes and check boxes (these are mockups, but they look right):

physician order sheetgastroenteritis order sheet

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