Medical science is constantly evolving. It is not just the technological development (new treatments, new technologies, new drugs), but also the deeper study of the nature of diseases in general. Every year, hundreds of scientific articles are published describing the mechanisms of exposure to infectious agents in the body, including the molecular level. This, in turn, provides new, more accurate methods for discovering the disease, new symptoms that previously was not paid attention to, and, of course, new ways of treatment.
In fact, the disease diagnostics is simply the processing of the information that can be divided into three stages:
- Obtaining information from the patient;
- Analyzing the database of diseases (the very moment when the doctor is looking for the most relevant diagnosis, based on the symptoms);
- Analyzing the information on treatment methods (to find the most effective method for the specific disease case).
The main problem of modern disease diagnostics is that at each stage, huge amounts of information must be processed. And every year, with each new turn of medicine development, these data arrays are becoming bigger and bigger. The human brain processes and stores daily a vast amount of information, and, unfortunately, it often happens that no resources remain for the absorption of large arrays of new data. Moreover, operating the data stored in the memory, a person can make a mistake. A mistake made by a doctor can cost a human life. For this reason, app development companies are firmly and confidently presented at the different medicine fields, while medical software is becoming the main tool for big data acquisition and processing.
Software development tools: the use in the study of the symptoms
Modern diagnostics cannot and must not be solely based on data obtained from a patient survey. “Medieval” methods in the style of “Does it hurt here? And here?” questioning quickly go down in history. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, it is necessary to have a complete picture of the patient: at the physiological, biochemical and even genetic levels. And the more accurate the collected data will be, the more accurate the diagnosis.
The introduction of modern digital technologies and software development tools makes it possible not only to get a better picture of the body with the use of physiological scan (ultrasound imaging, EEG, magnetic tomography etc.) methods but also provide new opportunities for genetic and biochemical laboratory tests. Special programs are built with the use of software development tools not only help to process the data more accurately (e.g. the number of blood cells in a blood test), but also provide more effective methods of the data analysis (PCR, FISH-method in genetics, automatic erythrocyte count). Creation of medical equipment and the specialized software development tools is an important and very significant sector of the IT industry.
Can software development standards help a computer make a diagnosis?
As mentioned earlier, diagnosis is primarily the studying of huge data arrays. In fact, the diagnosis is a process of entering the data obtained from the patient (symptoms) and searching for diseases, most relevant to existing symptoms. Data on illnesses and their symptoms are constantly updated. Moreover, the doctor that is diagnosing the sickness should search the regularly updated database. Even the most intelligent and educated person might fail in such a complicated assignment. But, a sophisticated task for a human can be plain for the powerful search engine created according to software development standards.
Already today, experts from IBM not only have developed a database system in full accordance with software development standards that allows the computer to look for the diseases, based on the most relevant symptoms but also created a special data encoding system, which greatly facilitates the exchange of information between man and machine.
The new computer programs, developed by the IBM engineers according to software development standards, work on the principles of search engines: the physician inputs the symptoms, computer gathers list of diseases corresponding to the entered manifestations, while processing the information stored in a giant database (which is constantly updated) and returns it to the doctor in the form of a special codes. Clinical tests of the new technology have shown very positive results, which gives hope for its practical use in the future.Will computers replace the doctors? Is it possible to say that, thanks to the introduction of the new technologies into medicine, doctors and nurses will not be demanded by society? According to the IBM scientist, this is very unlikely. Today's achievements of IT technologies in the medical field lighten the physician job: make it possible to more accurately diagnose diseases and significantly accelerate the processing of the information. IT technology should be seen as a new tool in the hands of physicians, rather than an alternative to living doctors. Computers improve the quality of medicine and provide new opportunities for professionals; however, invaluable knowledge and experience of medics will still be helpful for a long time. Now, we can only talk about improving the quality of health care and more effective treatment and diagnosis, which lessens the possibility of medical errors.