VisualDx is a software designed for the emergency room specialists to rapidly diagnose a multitude of diseases.
According to this Associated Press story:
VisualDx contains nearly 10,000 medical photographs culled from 1.2 million accumulated since the 1940s in private archives and colleges, chiefly New York University and the University of California at Los Angeles. It was first licensed out to hospitals, medical schools and internists in March 2001.
The market grew dramatically after the October 2001 anthrax attacks killed five people, rattling a nation on edge after Sept. 11. The software already had a biological warfare segment showing in vivid color the progressions of long-eradicated diseases like smallpox.
Blood tests, urine samples and scans can diagnose most diseases within 48 hours. The software can do it in minutes.
In place of the century-old method of flipping through weighty medical atlases containing one or two pictures of each illness – usually the classic or severe symptoms – the software displays multiple high-resolution images of how an illness can present itself.
“You see different body locations, skin tones, stages of the disease,” said company President Mike O’Connor. “Every diagnosis has a handbook-size text, tells you how not to confuse it with other diseases that look similar” and suggests follow-up tests and treatments.
If doctors cannot guess what’s wrong, they click on a category – lump or bump, black scabs, raised lesions – and add in ever more detailed facts, such as a patient’s appearance, medical history, drug medications or travel abroad, to home in on potential culprits.
In contrast with electronic versions of atlases, or a multitude of medical Web sites, the software is a leap forward in engineering from visual features to diagnoses, said James Cimino, a professor of medical informatics and medicine at Columbia University.
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