Medical Nerds Blog Logo

technology, stats and IT for medics


Thinking about medications

April 1st, 2015 by Mark · No Comments

Handling medications in clinical medicine is difficult. One of the easy wins for information technology in medicine is electronic prescribing. Our colleagues in general practice have had such systems for many years but those of us working in hospitals have lagged behind. [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: Databases · Medical · Research

NHS informatics strategies

February 21st, 2013 by Mark · No Comments

This blog post is written in response to a brief twitter comment reproduced below:

→ No CommentsTags: Medical

Batch converting images using imagemagick

June 12th, 2010 by Mark · 2 Comments

A quick update to my previous post Batch converting PDF to JPG/JPEG using free software about converting multiple files. [Read more →]

→ 2 CommentsTags: Graphics

Apache Lucene

May 25th, 2010 by Mark · 1 Comment

A short post. Apache Lucene is amazing – I was faced with slow full text searches searching >1.6 million SNOMED CT descriptions using PostgreSQL’s built in full-text search. Apache Lucene performs these searches in microseconds – I rapidly turn the list of concept Ids into full enterprise objects and my work is done!

Please check out Apache Lucene….

→ 1 CommentTags: Databases · Medical · WebObjects

Invaders Internet explorer 6 must die

March 23rd, 2010 by Mark · 3 Comments

Repeat after me:

while (1) {
System.out.println("Internet explorer 6 must die");

Why is internet explorer so ubiquitous across all NHS organisations?

I’m currently fighting CSS, javascript and graphics transparency problems…. ARRRRGHHHHHHH!

→ 3 CommentsTags: Uncategorized

Finding rows in one table not present in another table with PostgreSQL

March 6th, 2010 by Mark · 2 Comments

In implementing a comprehensive SNOMED CT browser as part of a research clinical information system, I cache the results of several processor and disk-intensive queries to speed up lookup and SNOMED CT navigation. I was finding some odd results and found that my caching was missing for several items. I needed a way of comparing the contents of one table with another in PostgreSQL and finding out which rows were not present. [Read more →]

→ 2 CommentsTags: Databases

Executing raw SQL with WebObjects and Project Wonder

March 6th, 2010 by Mark · No Comments

WebObjects is an extraordinarily powerful java based web-application server. On occasions, I need to execute arbitrary SQL against the underlying database. This is not necessary for most uses, but for certain batch operations it is useful. [Read more →]

→ No CommentsTags: WebObjects

Recursive SQL with PostgreSQL 8.4

March 4th, 2010 by Mark · 1 Comment

Representing hierarchical data in a relational database is easy. For instance, modelling the contents of a filesystem with directories and subdirectories is straightforward using self-joins on a parent key. The root node(s) are represented as those without a parent. Such a model is useful for modelling other types of data – in particular, hierarchies in which nodes can have multiple parents – for example, SNOMED CT is a hierarchical clinical terminology – the “Systematised Nomenclature of Medicine Clinical Terms”. The Connecting for Health website suggests this terminology is in widespread use by “all computers” in the NHS (website accessed 4th March 2010) but as those of us who work in the NHS will testify, this is not the case. [Read more →]

→ 1 CommentTags: Databases · Medical

More posts

March 4th, 2010 by Mark · 1 Comment

After a long hiatus while we both finish our theses (one of us [1] more successfully than the other) and obtain substantive posts (one of us [2] more successfully than the other), we are keen to restart regular nerdy medical technology posts.

Welcome back!

(1) Completed his MD in 2008
(2) This is not necessarily the same person

→ 1 CommentTags: Medical · Research

Encrypting a USB Key using TrueCrypt

October 26th, 2008 by James · 33 Comments

If you are a healthcare professional you have a duty to maintain the security of patient identifiable data. Within your job you sometimes need to use a USB key to transfer lists or letters between computers. If you lose your un-encrypted USB key with patient identifiable data then it may deemed negligent and you may face disciplinary action. In this how-to I will talk through how to setup an easy to use secure software encryption scheme for a USB stick/key for use with Windows. [Read more →]

→ 33 CommentsTags: Free · Medical · Open Source · Software