Have you ever tried to read a doctor’s handwriting? It seems impossible to decipher, right? Now imagine having to do that every day for your job! This is what nurses do, and prospective nurses must prepare for. Given our current technology, there must be an easier way to fill out patient orders and assessments, without the need for hospital staffs to read each other’s handwriting. Luckily, hospitals in recent years have been working on just that, digitizing patient records and spending funds toward the development of software to help remove the issues of paper records such as misread handwriting.
What does hospital software have to do with Computer Science at FHU? It is crucial in today’s world for nursing students to learn how to use similar software systems when taking their patient’s important medical information and assessments. Our CIS 268 Web Application Programming class took on the challenge over the Spring 2012 semester to develop an application for just this purpose. This project has been given the name DocuSim, as it will help the nursing instructors and their students document classroom simulations.
The user begins on a page where a list of patients is displayed, each one being a separate simulation exercise. Once a patient is selected, the DocuSim assessment page is shown. On this page, the selected patient’s data is dynamically loaded. The page also contains the necessary form(s) for the user to take and record assessments such as blood pressure, heart rate, vitals, important neurological tests and much more. The assessment page also shows previous assessment values and when they were taken, allowing the user to see both short and long-term history of the patient’s vital body functions. This aids in quickly seeing trends that may help in diagnosing and treating the patient. DocuSim’s main page also contains tabs for the user to quickly navigate to see the doctor’s orders of medication or treatments for the patient, and a full history for the patient.
Such a large project has been a challenge for us, but we have been able to create a (mostly) functional version of DocuSim by semester’s end. The challenge is now being passed on to Dr. Casey’s research team to continue making this application better and more efficient, and something that will be fully incorporated into FHU’s Nursing Program. My hope is for DocuSim to grow into something other Universities will be interested in incorporating as well!
-- Luke Fader