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Acesis: Simply Powerful Point-of-care Information Management. Health 2.0

Best demo of the day so far, the first one which isn’t eye candy uber alles, but focuses 100% on usability – “fighting the traditional architecture of the space“…

As Kevin Chesney, Acesis CEO, explained, 

“Our chief medical officer is technology phobic. ”

That’s a great quote from a software company, and not something you hear every day. Acesis is evidently pretty agile in its approach – intertwingling practioner and developer expertise to create something that should “just work”.

The contrast with the previous demonstration of a yacht management system called Intelisea was instructive. Intelisea has lots of visual richness, schematics of the yacht and so on, but its not clear which functions will be useful and which won’t. With the first prototype UI it was apparently impossible to read the boat’s speed in rough seas…    

Just because its a $20m yacht doesnt mean you need more function in the interface than anyone could ever need. As Tim O’Reilly joked:

“You know Captain Kirk only needed three controls, right?”

But back to Acesis. The company has created an extremely easy way to extend forms.

As Chesney explained:

“Why do we hate forms? there are too many fields we dont care about and none of the ones we do. Multiply that by all the things you need to consider with something as complex as the human body.”

An automated forms company that talks about how much people hate forms. Amen.

The coolest thing about the Acesis approach is its extensibility. At any point of interaction with the form- the clinician can add a new field with two clicks. For example – the form asks “What medication is the patient taking? This can be extended with, for example, “How many times a day?”

This really is a dynamically generated and adaptive form, which will become more useful under a clinician’s “tutelage” Acesis will provide templates. Modifications can be saved, and the market is physicians- who are highly skeptical of technology solutions. Chesney claimed  

One concern I had was with medical industry data models, ontologies and standards. All this extensibility is no use at all if it doesn’t chime with medical information standards such as sno-med. Acesis has that tagged- it can tie into a variety of nomenclatures and hierarchies- Kevin Chesney’s financial services and compliance background is useful here.  

Acesis is not just a standalone monolith though. It has a hosted software as a service data approach, with an IBM DB2 version 9 back end, so data can be stored in native XML or relational formats, and manipulated accordingly. I plan to get a briefing to find our more, beyond the six minute pitch the Engage format allows.

The appreciation of both formal medical industry ontologies, and the ability of clinicians to create better diagnosis tools from a bottom up perspective is pretty exciting.

Many many efforts to automate healthcare have foundered on clinician reluctance. The UK’s multibillion dollar IT renewal project has involved pretty much zero consultation with practitioners. No wonder its running late, missing deadlines, and generating a lot of negative headlines.

A more Acesis like approach would potentially be really helpful, to help with user acceptance. Social medical care has to be a good thing, as long as formal ontology isn’t broken in providing it.

 

 

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4 Responses

  1. Old Smalltalkers never die. We co-authored the CORBA ORB bindings for Smalltalk aeons ago …

  2. Patrick, it’s great to hear from you!

    James, thanks for the favorable write up …what a compliment. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you, and I look forward to keeping in touch.

    One clarification, our chief medical officer can’t be technology phobic since she both sees the business value and embraces its application. However, like many physicians, she’s an expert in the field of medicine but not thoroughly comfortable with computers. We see this as an advantage, as you already mentioned… and gives us an important perspective in fusing expertise in healthcare and technology.



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] Adobe held an event yesterday (Feb 27.07) called Engage, where they explained their new Apollo web development platform for tech bloggers, developers and others in the Web industry. John Dowdell from Adobe has a useful page of links. Their’s a lot of diverse coverage, from Tim O’Reilly commenting on the user experience aspects, to David Berlind on Brightcove, to James Governor on Acesis, to Scoble on positioning, to Ryan Stewart’s blanket coverage. [...]