Responsibilities

When developing biomedical systems that have to be placed into clinical care we often times have to face the enormous challenge of either giving a new face to existing and familiar processes or even restructure and replace them completely with new applications. In this context, building user interfaces for an discipline that is inherently sensitive to time constraints requires careful thought, skilled design, and a profound understanding of how health care personal can be supported in their daily work. While some of our past approaches did not exactly fuel the enthusiasm for computer support at the bedside (e.g., awkward data input via overlayed keyboards), technology is constantly moving forward and the progressing availability of mobile devices (especially those equipped with reasonably functional touchscreens) allows us today more than ever to create applications that are intuitive, safe and rapid in executing everyday tasks.

For health care professionals, however, taking steps towards health information technologies, such as implementing an electronic health record in a physicians practice, will always include change that requires an open mind, professional training, costs, and a certain level of discomfort in the transition time. From a software engineering point of view, our responsibility is to make this transition as easy and efficient as possible, but eliminating its downsides completely is an impossible task. Therefore, going the whole distance to highly available, safe, and cost-efficient health care through structures like national health networks will also require policy makers to stimulate progress and, where necessary, to enforce unpleasant steps if they lead to benefit for patients.


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