Using Biomedical Informatics to Diagnose Ailments and Diseases

Biomedical Informatics deals with information (biological information) and its processing. Biomedical informatics provides a unique platform for the medi-care professionals to share with each other what they have learnt, or observed, and put it in a form which is immediately available to other colleagues.

Generally,
when you visit your physician or a hospital, either for yourself, or
accompanying someone else, or looking up a patient, you would find in the
lounge or in the Doctor’s room, a number of magazines dealing with health, and
some research oriented pamphlets from physician’s associations, the most famous
of which is the Lancet, according to this author. There are various
publications for each specialty in the medical profession, and these
disseminate information to the physician about his field, of the newer
developments in his area, and the kinds of patients that came up for diagnosis
elsewhere, and pointing out newer facets of that disease, which would be
helpful to other physicians.  In other
words, a corporate magazine which keeps all informed in an office, but with a
difference.

This
is biomedical informatics at work. Informatics means information network, use
of information channels, and now its exclusive domain meaning is ‘use of computers’
to spread the requisite information through computers. Thus the physician is no
longer bundled to scan through magazines to look for something which occurs to
him, or is looking for some detail which is currently occupying his mind in
finding a right diagnosis, and wonders what more is happening.

That
is precisely one of the areas in which Biomedical Informatics is flourishing,
since it provides an online, all time available, database of various diseases,
their various forms, signs, symptoms, and other information, which can help
educate a physician even in a remote place.

In
fact, some of the software that has been exclusively designed for medical
professionals are such that by keying some major indicators, which only the
physician can do, a stream of choices of possible symptoms and diseases, or a
flip down page, asking for more details crops up, and when filled, it searches
the databases existing anywhere and everywhere in the world, and in the public
domain, and comes up with certain pages – much like your search on Google, or
Yahoo for a certain product – that contain information sought by the physician,
or gives guidelines where  the physician
may get more relevant information.

You
can thus see how quickly the physician today is able to come up with a
diagnosis, and often times a prognosis (meaning possibility of recovery,
management, etc. of the disease, drugs). Compared to earlier days when it took
weeks (for the patient, even a day meant as much as a week because of the
worry, tension, and often times, unbearable pain, and fear) to get to the root.