PHiP (Patient History in Pocket)
PHiP is a tool designed to support the neurologists in the treatment of patients with neurological troubles; it is intended to make available on mobile devices some sections of the patientsí paper-based records and to implement features and functionalities that neurologists consider relevant to treat neurological diseases.
It exploits Information Visualization techniques and it is able to accommodate on the screen a good amount of information that physicians require in their analysis of clinical cases.
Two user interfaces for PHiP have been implemented, exploiting two different visualization techniques: Overview + details vs. Zoomable.
Both interfaces have been inspired by LifeLines, a technique for visualizing summaries of personal histories [Plaisant, C. Milash, B., Rose, A., and Shneiderman, B. Life Lines: Visualizing personal histories. Proceedings of ACM Conference CHIí96, Vancouver, Canada, April 13-18, ACM Press, New York, NY, 1996, 221-227]. By displaying on a single screen of a personal computer the overview of multiple facets of records, this technique provides users with a better sense of type and volume of available data.
PHiP has been designed taking into account the daily work of the neurologists and the different situations in which they need to access to patient records, such as in a ward round when the patient is hospitalized, during a medical control, on a telephone call for an emergency.
PHiP has been developed according to a user-centered approach, thanks to the collaboration of the physicians of the Giovanni XXIII pediatric hospital in Bari, Italy.
There is a single underlying database that contains all relevant information about patient personal data, medical controls and hospitalizations. Neurologists can still use the previously existing application running on a PC. PHiP allows neurologists to access the same database through the PDA. Specifically, neurologists can load data about patients by connecting the PDA directly to the database by means of the Sync manager before doing their daily ward round, or during a medical control in the outpatient clinic.
In case of a telephone call for an emergency because a patient seizure is occurring, neurologists may not have time to synchronize data and will access them connecting on Internet. The Web architecture includes a request manager that receives the requests from the mobile device, authenticates the user and calls the database manager in order to perform the right query and to retrieve the needed data. The database manager calls the XML manager module that, from the query result, builds the XML file to send to the client. Then, the HTTP server sends the response to the client.
There is also the possibility to connect to the server by using a normal browser from a PC. Since we send XML file to the client, it is possible to associate XSLT and CSS files that permit to present the information to the client in different forms depending on the client. Currently, the database is Microsoft Access because it was already used in the existing application.
The PHiP application we have implemented uses Apache 1.3.20 Web server combined with PHP 4.0.6 language for server side scripting. The PHiP client application is developed with C# language and runs on Pocket PC OS and .NET platform. It uses the Piccolo toolkit that support interactive 2D structured graphics applications, and zoomable user interface in particular [Bederson, B.B, Grosjean, J. and Meyer, J. Toolkit Design for Interactive Structured Graphics. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 30(8), 2004] .
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