Monday, December 12, 2011

Two health information systems: Mu and Delta

I am excited to report that my team and I are slowly building a portfolio of health information systems. Our first major project in this growing sector was Project Mu (a codename, of course). Technically, Mu is a clinic information system -- it helps manage a chain of clinics with branches spread all over the Philippines. 

Mu contains software modules to record patient demographics and health records, including diagnoses and treatment histories. It also has a module to generate price quotations and record payments (stopping short of generating receipts -- the client recognized that we weren't building a POS or point of sale system). Mu's application and database are web-based and accessible through a private cloud. Mu was delivered and deployed last year and we are now in the process of enhancing it, based on customer requests. 

Our team is proud of Mu because our clients are happy with the product (in fact, they've been giving us repeat business). We also celebrate the fact that we completed this app despite overwhelming obstacles attached to the client's circumstances (details of which I could not reveal here -- suffice it to say we overcame great odds and still came out with a good product).

And now we have two more forays into health information systems. Of the two, I'd like to write here about Project Delta. The Delta system is now in its inception stage. Like Mu, Delta will contain modules for storing and retrieving patient data, recording doctor's notes, and generating treatment plans and recommendations for patients. I am not yet at liberty to reveal details, but I promise to blog about it as soon as I get clearance from my clients, who are doctor-specialists.

What is exciting about Delta is that it will support physician-specialists who are relatively mobile -- that is, doctors who run their practice in various clinics and hospitals in different locations. Imagine Dr. M. who brings a laptop to the clinic. When she sees a patient, Dr. M. records her findings in Delta running in her laptop. If there's an internet connection, the app will update the patient information stored in a cloud database server. There may also be an app for iPad or an Android tablet that would allow a doctor to view patient records and record some notes using that mobile device. 

Of course, this is the product vision for Delta. We won't necessarily deliver all of these at the start. Our cooperative customers understand the importance of iterative development and starting with simple features (a rarity in the IT industry). So our first sprint will be just about the basic patient data and the important data entry forms.

By the way, the second exciting feature of Delta is that we are developing this entirely from a scrum approach. Even more exciting is that we are using online tools to improve our virtual collaboration, not just for the development team, but also with our clients who, as I've mentioned, are mobile physicians. I'll be blogging more about the approaches and tools we're using to start up Project Delta.

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