Remember The Milk, Web 2.0 in healthcare

Remember The Milk is a well-done "web 2.0" application. So far, it's free – and I do like the user interface. I like the way that it will send an e-mail reminder AND a reminder to my pager AND a message to my gtalk client.

Too bad there are no "web 2.0" applications for healthcare. Yeh – I'm not quite sure what web 2.0 means either .. but it seems that the focus is on usability, RIAs and AJAX.

The whole AJAX thing is funny – as it's great to see people finally "get it" .. but the techniques for creating web applications that allow the user to interact with the server without reloading the page have been around a long time. I think the first well-written article on how to do this was the old "gif as a datapipe" trick – well before XMLHTTPrequest. We used this technique in the development of oncalls five years ago!

Yet none of the EMRs are using these techniques. So sad to see us lag behind the rest of the world (again). With the emergence of standards for EMR interoperability – I dream about the back-end agnostic web-based EMR front end. Hmm … It would be developed with a clean UI – and deliver the core functions of a modern EMR:

– Messaging (provider to staff, patient to provider, staff to patient, patient to staff).
– Order Entry (referrals, labs, procedures) – integrated with knowledge resources and CPT/ICD-9 lookup tools
– Chart Note Entry – with templates and macros and voice recognition support
– Prescription Writing – integrated with interaction checking, dosing guidelines, etc.
– Immunization & Health Maintenance data entry & alerts
– Disease management decisions support (HTN, DM, Hyperlipidemia, etc)

It's really not too much to ask – is it?

5 thoughts on “Remember The Milk, Web 2.0 in healthcare

  1. Jacob,

    It is unfortunately too much to ask for. We are bound by all these regulations that make developing any product for healthcare. Software is not exception, and it just takes a lot of time and resources to develop anything.


  2. Most of the current EMR programs are so counterintuitive that they are Web 0,5 if anything. A simple search box at the top would be a great way to start. It will probably take years for the EMR makers to create an AJAX-based user interface.

    By the way, Tim O’Reilly has a neat explanation of what Web 2.0 is:

    And you can visualize it here:

    I also tried but I like better – it is just simpler to use and works with Opera.

  3. jacob, i’ll be in sf @ DUX in a couple weeks.. i’ll let you know if i come across anything web2.0 related to health care interfaces.. but if health care is regulated in tech in a similar way that the state is, i agree that it does make for some difficulty… though not knowing what the regulations are i cant’ really speak to that one.

  4. Jacob,
    I’m working on a developing an interface in healthcare that would allow the ability to connect to an expert and to peers. Some voip/web 2.0 capability would be great! What sites have you seen so far that do something beyond the usual content fare of webmd, drkoop etc.

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