Strategic Informatics

A blog about the strategic application of technology


Health is wealth – Tips for a overall healthy life!

Health is wealth, goes the old adage and it fits well with any generation. In the recent times we have a lot of engagements that make taking care of ourselves difficult to manage. We take our health for granted. Even when cough and fever catch up on people, they think it is a part and parcel of their daily life.
digg story


How Doctors Learn From Patients

Sometimes you come across a company that doesn’t take the time to understand it’s users fully. I’ll admit not being an MD can make it difficult to understand the details of a doctors day but this article offers an interesting perspective of patient and physician communication and trust.

Says Dr. Rifkin, “As a resident, I learned how to place these lines (used for medications and dialysis) in the groin or neck by locating the arterial pulse with my fingers, looking at the anatomical landmarks nearby, and then calculating in my mind where the vein ought to be.”

read more | digg story


Travel Assistant

I’ve been traveling a number of years and the Internet has certainly proven a convenience not only to me but to my employers pocket book as the ability to find specials and better deals have increased tremendously. The only problem is keeping all your travel arragements in order. I’ve come across a site called Tripit that hand’s down has become a great tool for me to use. Here is how it works:


  1. Setup your account on and user your e-mail address that you receive reservation and itenerary confirmation from. For me it’s my work e-mail address.
  2. Now just forward these confirmation e-mail you receive to and voila it is parsed ala some rather good Web 2.0 magic and presented in a schedule suitable for quickly finding the information you need right away for your trip.

And it wasn’t until they developed an iPhone compatible mobile version that I was really impressed. These folks really seem to get it. While I would suggest they add a few more features it is a really valuable service for those of us who stay on the road. I am in now way associated with Tripit but do want to give good mention to a very useful website.




Programming Itch

I’ve got the programming itch again… For years I’ve done development on and off mostly for personal use. I created my first official application for an academic medical center in Houston a couple of years ago. It cleaned up a pharmacy database inside the EMR and updated the entries with a third party catalog of pharmacies purchased from a marketing department in California. After doing this manually by hand I though there has got to be a better way to accomplish the same thing I was using Excel, Access, and Text files to do by hand so the first Pharmacy app was created. It imported Excel documents provided by the EMR database administrator and provided a cleaned up version for import back into the EMR. After speaking with the DBA he requested the application also export a SQL text file that he could simply update the Oracle database with. So with that my first point release was born! Version 1.1 made the DBA very happy and saved about another hour of his already busy day.

So I’m tasked with how I should scratch this programming itch I have and improve my programming skillsets. With so many options like VB, C#, C++, Ruby on Rails, Java, where is a lowly programmer to start? I have become in recent years an avid Linux user and have found good use for desktop and servers in my home, and as a result have adoped and been attracted to several open source software solutions so I thought I would look in this direction first.

My requirements would be something I could easily adopt to the web as well as something powerful enough to run scripts locally and be a cross platform. So I’ve settled on PHP. My content management system web sites (Joomla, WordPress) have all been PHP based and my wife’s upcoming e-commerce site Princess and the Peas is based on a PHP e-commerce platform so I thought if I were to create any enhancements this would be a good place to start developing. I may be using this site as a testing ground so I’ll be sure to post my progress.


Thank you!

As I spend this Memorial day with my family I wanted to thank all the men and women in the armed forces who serve our country so bravely and help protect the freedoms we hold so dear. So to those who are currently serving and those who are no longer with us I say “Thank You!” and may we never forget the truly important roles you have played and continue to play as we fight for liberty and freedom.


Rejoice…MS Office to support ODF, other open formats

Microsoft today broke from its tradition of primarily endorsing in-house formats by revealing that it will add support to Office for a number of universal standards outside of its own. Office 2007 Service Pack 2 will support the Open Document Format (ODF) touted by OpenOffice, Sun’s StarOffice, and other third-party tools.

read more


Mobile Phones in Healthcare

Cell phone are increasingly becoming a more integrated part of our daily lives. We use them to stay connected with friends, family, and business associates. The increased use of text messaging has even become an option in many of the requirements I design for our clients patient portals. As we come to absorb more of what our vendors (banks, food establishments, ecommerce) can offer us through we web is is only logical that society comes to accept the concept of accessing your personal health records (PHR) through the cell phone as well.

Cell phone based web browsing doesn’t seem to have evolved much in the past 12 years since we first saw businesses develop WAP enabled web pages for tiny monochromatic screens. OK…There is the iPhone but the mobile Safari browser seems to be light years ahead of the competition in terms of providing a truly usable mobile browsing solution for the average person. But we can probably speculate that simliar mobile browsing technologies will step-up to offer similar solutions. So as we think about a technology that is always at hand and the applications increasingly become available to acutually use the web not just display bits and pieces of it the concept of providing applications like your portable health record becomes more plausible.

Dispite the best efforts of Google and Microsoft, among others to offer PHR solutions for the average user I think the average consumer is will come to realize the benifit of having a truly portable medical record at hand if they need quick access to specific medical data such as medication dosages, allergies, PCP information, current problem list.

We are a mobile society and always on the move which means we may not always have our critical data with us when we need it. However, if it was securely stored on a device such as a cell phone which we always carry with us it could prove very valuable to a clinician or ER physician who is treating you and needs rapid access to your health history.

Airlines are now talking about reading bar codes from passenger cell phones to process their online boarding passes. I think it would be pretty easy to have a similar solution available to ER physicans that can simply display your 2 or three dimentional bar code and reference your clinical data. Even if it is not a mobile web based or platform specific application running on a mobile phone a small 3-D barcoded sticker on the back of the mobile device would provide all the reference information a healthcare institution would need to pull up your data in a hurry.


High growth predicted in Nanotech Market

Worth an estimated $11.6 billion in 2007, the market is forecast to increase to $12.7 billion in 2008, reaching a value over double this amount in the next five years at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.3%.

read more


Tips for Apples next successor

Now a record breaking winner of six coveted Black Pencil awards for excellent design, Apples Senior VP of Industrial Design, Jonathan Ive appears to be a logical successor to Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs’ unique personality and approach is certiainly unique however as we see Bill Gates make his departue it is not unforseeable to think that Jobs is now preping his successor to continue building on Apples now 30+ years of operation. Some things I think will continue to carry Apple into the next 30 years are approaches Job’s himself fostered in his approach at Apple.

  • Core Business – Apple should continue to stick to their core compentencies and venture out only when they feel confident they can get it right. (i.e. iPhone) Is Apple the only company that does their homework when it comes to market research?
  • Don’t get caught in beta fever – Embrace your customers but not with Beta products ala Web 2.0.  Apple is in the business of making good hardware and software so it is in their best interest to get it as close to right out of the box and not live perpetually in the guise of this is an idea we are testing. This is not something apple customers have come to expect and continue to do…Thankfully.  Apple TV aside, they have made a darn good second attempt where many others have failed in media delivery to the home.
  • Design – This is something that goes without saying that Apple creates great designs but they don’t just stop with hardware as it carrys through their software, interfaces, and new design philosophy.
  • .Mac – Please…Please…Please… get the .Mac functions working correctly. This is a prime opportuinity for Apple to bring some additional value in interoperating their different hardware platforms. iPhone allows photo bloging, favorite links syncronization between different systems and platforms, remote control keynote through iPhone/iTouch, etc…
  • SDK – If Apple wants to gain some serious market share then they need to focus on the developers. As great as Apple is at developing great products they would be wise to develop a platform and framework at which developers can generate solutions to meet chaning demands. Their current iPhone SDK has gone through 5 betas in two months. This shows tremendous progress and dedication to developers worldwide.

I can’t say I agree with Jobs’ approach with everything in business but one thing is certain and that is Apple will continue to become a dominate player in the years to come and errode marketshare away from Microsoft.



Why Gen Y Is Going to Change the Web

Gen Y is taking over. The generation of young adults that’s compromised of the children of Boomers, Generation Jones, and even some Gen X’ers, is the biggest generation since the Baby Boomers and three times the size of Gen X.

read more | digg story