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Re: dentist software

Hi Johan,

Johan Henriksson wrote:
> Karsten Hilbert wrote:
>>> I'd like to stress how unique your position is, David. You should not spend too much
>>> time on coding.
>> I fully agree with that.
>>> Rather help with some insightful guidance to specify the minimal complexity of a
>>> system that could be considered useful. Publish that somewhere. Indicate what is
>>> there, what needs to be changed and what needs to be addressed.
>> That is certainly very useful.
>>> I am fairly confident that there will be students in Medical Informatics
>>> or elsewhere that
>>> would be interested to adopt some work in the larger puzzle for their
>>> bachelor thesis or
>>> so.
>> While that thought certainly seems logical you'd be surprised how little that approach
>> seems to actually work in practice. Been there, done that, had/have the specs. Unless you
>> are the professor of a medical IT dept. you don't get the chance to involve a significant
>> amount of students for significant amount of times.
>> Usually a professor's interest in a project lives only as long as funding flows.

I need to contradict here. If you are not interested int the work, then you are not
interested in the work, be there funding flowing or not. You are claiming that the
interest may only go where the money is. It is different - those professors that only go
for the money are driven by despair or some other negative energy. And if that is the
case, the interst already ends when the grant got through, which is even before the money
has arrived.

>> Usually a student's interest only spans the duration of a thesis or other assignment.

But this is just fine. Students are best when they follow their interest. And we want
everyone to be at his/her best.

There are two ways to get a thesis assigned:
a) you go around and ask.
b) you make a proposal yourself.

Our Medical Informatics department is one floor up. I should probably go over and ask.
Type a) of students is often helpful. Type b) of students is often not too helpful unless
they have worked in your institute before and already know and love that field, but if
someone is really good, then they are great to work/think/discuss with, no matter what
their thesis is about. If Medical Informatics was my emphasis of research, I would
probably not specify any such bachelor thesis myself either. But I (not a professor but
working much like one) would not turn down anyone who is eager to address any such
development and contacts me about it. We would find some research question to address for
which that kind of a system needs to be addressed (some clinical study for instance) or we
find some other challenge (comparison of effects of various cost accounting principles or
of some policital regulations) that requires such a development.

> I can only agree here.

> I think the remedy to this problem is to split up
> the work into smaller manageable pieces that are of greater interest to
> the community because they can be shared. this all boils down to knowing
> project/design politics. examples:
> viewing pictures: done. can you extend existing programs?
> special rendering: fork a library if possible, data visualization is
> always in need
> image filtering: used everywhere. fork a library
> dicom server connectivity: need only be done once and right
> managing dialogs and forms specific for a clinic: we have needed a
> generic filemaker/msaccess replacement for a long time. make one that
> can be embedded in special purpose programs. then most of the project
> specific code left will just be data and form declarations
> done right most parts will be outsourced and off everyones table for
> good. if anyone else wants/need to start again they will have good
> modular and maintained pieces to work with. I think the closer to the
> user the more expensive the components will be so this work should be
> designed away as much as possible.

One could indeed think of such a workflow like environment in which to assemble the
applications. This is more or less coming, I think. Or already there. But you disassembled
technical bits. I was more after the dentristal bits that need some dissection. Let me try:

* ontology (or controlled vocabulary) to describe teeth and actions perfomed on them
* graphical representation of the different teeth (or the location at which there once
were teeth) and their defects
* data management as for other medical disciplines?
* ...?
And there need to be regular updates for
* billing to privately insure or non-insured individuals
* billing to regularly insured individuals, communication to insurance companies
that may depend not only on the country but also on the overall state that the patient is
in (infant, pregnancy, .. donno).

How should Open Source know about all that without close contact to dentists? Isn't there
some Dentist union to contact about it? Maybe not in Europe but in some other bits of the
world that does not spend the money that easily to acquire commercial products?



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