Healthcare always travels hand in hand with innovation. Handwritten charts are getting replaced with EHRs, machines are entrusted with diagnostics, physicians and nurses are empowered by handy tools – for decades, technology has driven the quality of medicine on every level, from private clinics to regulatory bodies. There are, however, some challenges to applying innovation in the industry. Legacy software that hasn’t been updated since the 90s, lack of standardization, complicated data exchange process… On Techtalks, we encourage you to use the platform to seek answers about all things HealthIT and help others make healthcare innovations available to more people.
Well, first thing to know is that all main EHR vendors have cloud-based versions of the software, most of which exclusively so. We’ve reviewed them here, if you’re interested. Cloud products in general are cheaper and more convenient in terms of maintenance and implementation, so smaller medical practices can get and use one right away. Besides, cloud software is:
- Compliant with HIPAA requirements
- Updated automatically by a vendor
- Accessed on any device in any location (of course, with additional authorization measures)
- Easy to scale
Traditional or on premises EHR require an in-house IT team and complex tech infrastructure. Hospitals pay upfront and it takes months or even years to prepare the hospital and the system. The main benefit is customization, which is critical if you want to make sure that the software serves your needs best. Considering how frustrating and time consuming regular EHRs are, it makes perfect sense to customize an EHR if you have the budget.
CTMS or Clinical Data Management System is software for managing the whole clinical trial process. EDC or Electronic Data Capture is just one of the steps in that process - creating protocols and case report forms, recording patient data, and sending it to where it belongs.
Not all clinical trials use complicated CTMSs, but most of them have an EDC, because they replace paper forms and reports. Sometimes patients use them too, when they’re accessing ePROs to report their health. We have a whole article on clinical trial software, where we explain all these systems and how they comprise the trial workflow.
Actually, there are many sources, we covered the main ones in the article here. Here’s an overview:
Start with openFDA - a government platform with tons of open source APIs on drugs, food, and devices. It returns information in JSON on product labels, National Drug Codes, and some unique info like reports on recall enforcements and adverse events.
DailyMed returns only data on drug labeling in JSON and XML formats and goes into a bit more detail than openFDA.
MedlinePlus aggregates data on patient health from over 1600 organizations and has tons of useful information about diseases and their use cases, complemented with images, videos, and of course used drugs. Drug data covers both generic and over the counter drugs, their dosage, side effects, storage conditions, and precautions. Above that, there’s data on evidence-based treatments like herbs and supplements. Medline uses an XML format.
RxNorm is your main source of drug vocabulary - any terms, brands, ingredients, properties, their codes, drug-drug interactions. There are six APIs to retrieve that information and you can choose between JSON and XML.
If you need drug prices, go to GoodRx that aggregates pricing data from pharmacy chains and covers 80 percent of US retail drug purchases. There’s even a price comparison feature. GoodRx returns JSON responses.