Feeds

E-health FAIL: £1.59 iPhone apps dole out drugs to kids in A&E

Stop watching Star Trek and get some blood on your screens

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Children arriving at A&E are having their drug dosages calculated with a £1.59 iOS app which has not been certified and whose use is not monitored. It has been downloaded more than 500,000 times. This statistic was offered as an example of the development of "electronic health" technology at present at the Future World Symposium in London this week.

That particular app is probably perfectly safe – it calculates adrenaline dosages within three clicks and comes from an established company – but with no one scrutinising what doctors use, the next one might not be so reliable.

Medical professionals are starting to worry that efforts to create starship Enterprise sick bays will end up wasting resources and directing attention from the dull analysis of data that can save lives today.

That's according to experts the London symposium. The great and the good from the UK electronics industry were told to stop making fanciful videos showing diabetic patents using high-tech gadgets to monitor already controlled conditions.

Engineers were also urged to stop waiting for interoperable standards and just get on with making multifunction kit that can withstand the blood and guts of a real hospital. Their tech also has to run software that has been certified by the same kind of approval process applied to the rest of the medical tech cupboard.

The "worried well", who generally are expected to fund the industry by buying the latest gadgetry and presenting their doctor with a complete medical breakdown, were described by Keith Errey of Isansys as "a bunch of attention seeking old-style hypochondriacs and neurotics" if they existed at all.

Errey pointed out that anyone arriving at hospital clutching a home-printed ECG would be immediately connected to a trusted ECG machine, rendering the original scan pointless.

It was also Errey who listed all the various oozes one must expect medical equipment to cope with, complete with images for anyone still imagining Dr McCoy at work, although he did suggest that the tricorder might already exist – not as a single thing, but as an amalgam of the data already being collected if only it could be properly analysed.

That was a call repeated by the other participants, and culminating in a call for the NHS Spine – a project to computerise all NHS health records – to be completed and placed under patient control. The idea of the spine is that every citizen would have a medical record they could choose to share with medical practitioners, perhaps throwing some of their self-gathered data in too for the doctors to ignore.

But like most monolithic IT projects it has suffered from huge implementation and human problems which combine to make a laudable ideal all but impracticable even if it's the thing that would save most lives.

When it comes to electronic health most of us are still thinking of slick videos populated with media-friendly diabetics, flashing touch-screens and smiling doctors in clean white coats. Sadly the reality is that the life of a child may depend on an iPhone app while millions of dollars is spent developing diagnostic gadgets aimed squarely at the very-rich-but-critically-ill demographic... and that never happened on Star Trek. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.