Techman Texts: Bridge of the Enterprise is a trauma center away

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If you want to experience a future permeated by computers, walk into the trauma center of a major hospital.

It's the bridge of the Starship Enterprise with patients. There are computers hanging from every wall, on every desk and on carts pushed around by employees.

TechMan recently had the unfortunate opportunity to visit a trauma center (he was not the one injured) and it led to a few observations about medical technology.

It seems that medical records are a weak link in the system. The person that TechMan was with was asked three times within a few hours what medication she took. After the first time, it should have been part of her profile. I suspect that people are just too busy to enter patient data in a timely manner.

Windows-based software was being run, but also a lot of proprietary software. You wonder how well these different systems talk to each other.

I saw screens outlining workarounds for problems resulting from the latest upgrade. And I am sure hospital computers are prone to all the same problems computers have elsewhere.

One piece of technology I saw did impress me. When medicine was given to a patient, his wristband was scanned as was the medication packaging. I assume this prevents the wrong medicine from being given and keeps a record of the times and dosages given to each patient.

Medical technology is impressive but far from perfect. And if that is true of a major hospital, think how much room for improvement there is in the tech used by your family physician.

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Don't unfriend me because I'm dead: Facebook has announced that it will no longer limit who can view the accounts of its deceased members. Until now, Facebook would change the privacy settings on a deceased person's account so that only that person's friends could view the page. Now, Facebook will leave privacy settings as the account's owner set them, so anyone who could view the account while that person was living will be able to view it after death as well, which Facebook says respects the choices the person made. Now your friends can remember why they miss you and your enemies why they're glad you're gone.

•••

High-speed spreading: Google Fiber, Internet service that's 10 times faster than current speeds, is ready to expand, as Google has identified nine metro areas around the country as possible sites of deployment, the company said. Pittsburgh is not among them. Google also said it will announce further expansion in the future. Thirty-four cities are in the running. Pittsburgh is not among them.

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U.S. -- slow and expensive: In a study of 16 countries by OpenSignal, the average U.S. mobile broadband download speed in 2013 was faster only than the Philippines. And The Washington Post reports that 26 countries have cheaper nonmobile broadband Internet service than the U.S., based on figures from OECD.org.

•••

Lighting and looking: Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport has 171 recently installed LED lighting fixtures that also watch visitors, The New York Times reports.

With sensors and video cameras, the light fixtures can spot long lines, recognize license plates and even identify suspicious activity, sending alerts to the appropriate staff.

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Website of the week: wikihow.org is a user-based collaboration to build and share the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual.

•••

Closed-captioning garble of the week: Sweden's Olympic hockey team member Jonathan Ericsson -- Jonathan Airsickson.


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