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June 17, 2012

Information Governance Industry

Has the NHS gone compliance crazy? In a few years information governance has expanded from a toolkit into an industry. NHS trusts are spending more and more on ensuring compliance—a trend accelerated by the large fines being handed out.

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January 17, 2010

iPhone not the One

Use IT now to help the people of Haiti.

I dismissed suggestions that I would become one. One of the spiral-eyed ring wraiths from Morden (and everywhere else) who ride the London Underground white stoppers in their ears and 6 inch square screens before their eyes through which they experience reality while reality passes by.

I was excited. My telecoms provider had called me to tell me that I could renew my contract and become a proud user of iPhone. I called a friend who enthused about its apps and gave me the impression it was the coolest thing since a morning dip in the Ford of Bruinen.

Almost convinced, I was passing a retail outlet and couldn’t resist taking a peek. What a shocker: the touch screen text entry system is one of the worst I have experienced. Even after a bit of practice my typing speed would have fallen by 25 percent at least.

One ring to rule them all? I’ll stick to my Blackberry. When it comes to a method of entering text which is quick, portable and unobtrusive we are still bound in darkness.

"One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings.

June 25, 2006

Smartpen: rewriting the record

smartpen.jpgFinding the right data device for clinicians resembles the search for the Holy Grail, as I have commented before.

I continue to like pen and paper-which provides me with the freedom to use a mélange of words, diagrams and runes. Perhaps that's why I was so taken by Datapulse's Smart Pen, when I came across it at a recent IT Directors event.

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April 16, 2006

Commanding Voice: combining telephony and wireless

vocera.jpgNow I am a sucker for a cute gadget, especially one finished in black and silver that combines telephony and wireless. No surprise then that I spotted the Vocera badge on Telindus' stand at HC 2006. Vocera's system combines software with the badge to integrate PBX, pager, cellphone and push to talk.

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March 14, 2006

Healthcare Input: mission impossible?

Image of paper records stacked up.I am perplexed. Will we ever find the right input device for clinicians? The ones we have are too big, too small, too slow, too unreliable, too nickable or may carry bugs.

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February 28, 2006

Data Input: voice recognition

Techguy (John) recently commented he believes that Voice Recognition is the way of the future. He may be right—at least in part. I first saw VR many years ago and was unimpressed. Fortunately, I read positive reviews of Dragon Naturally Speaking 8 and decided to invest—now I’m impressed.

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February 22, 2006

Computer Input by Thought

After my tirade against the computer keyboard, I had it in mind to write about other computer input devices. However, in the case of the tablet PC, Dr. Bill Crounse has already done a good job on the Healthblog here. Nonetheless, there is still some scope left.

So let's begin at the top: what about input by thought? In Scientific American Mind: Train Your Brain mental exercises with neurofeedback may ease the symptoms of attention-deficit disorder and epilepsy. A child manipulates a computer-generated jet by increasing the potential of certain brain waves.

Another SciAm article Thinking Out Loud describes how patients unable to speak or gesture can communicate by controlling a cursor through a brain-computer interface by manipulating their brain waves.

From rattling the plastics to racking our brains?

February 16, 2006

Dirty QWERTY

keyboard.jpgWhy QWERTY? Why indeed.

This keyboard layout was designed in 1874 by Christopher Scholes. An alphabetical layout caused the machine's levers to jam, so he positioned the most frequently used letters as far apart as possible. To assist salesmen to demonstrate, Scholes craftily arranged all of the letters needed for the word "typewriter" to be in the top row.

I think this is an awful input device. I have been using it for many years and learned to touch type when I was completing a Masters dissertation. Time and again I watch users hunting and pecking their way across the keyboard. Imagine the time wasted in this painful process.

This article on Slashdot refers to a Swedish study that shows that the keyboard is a bacteria farm. It is inhabited by 33000 bacteria per square centimetre, compared to 130 on a toilet seat.

Covering a keyboard makes it easier to clean, important in these times of super bugs like MRSA. But what about ridding ourselves of it altogether? It's time for FHIT to look at other methods of data input.