Reverse Innovation in Healthcare

Image credit: Andrew Basterfield (Bumblebee Transformer) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons. (Image altered and text added)

Health Information Systems require standardized data entry forms (DEF) for a variety of applications such as patient data entry in electronic health records, computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and standardized order sets on paper. DEFs need to be customized according to the health condition, type of care offered and the specific requirements of the specialty.

Maintaining and updating the content of DEFs according to the latest evidence-based practice guidelines is a tough and tedious task. Rendering of DEFs on the computer screen or paper has an enormous impact on patient safety. Use of confusing abbreviations and inappropriate fonts may lead to events such as medication errors.

DEFs can be shared across healthcare facilities and even across geographic borders. However, for open-source DEFs to be feasible, DEFs should be in a standard format. TeXForMed is an attempt to create such an open-source repository of DEFs using the ubiquitous LaTeX.

The LaTeX logo, typeset with LaTeX

The LaTeX logo, typeset with LaTeX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Using a LaTeX framework will facilitate the use of existing tools such as LaTeX editors. Rendering and formatting can be accurately reproduced on a computer screen and paper. Forms can be either rendered as HTML inside Health Information Systems or as PDF files for printing in resource deprived regions.

I have created a stub for TexForMed under the E-Health group on GitHub. Implementation and standardization ideas are welcome from the international E-Health community. The aim is to use GIT for collaboration in creating the content for DEFs and the associated tools. I have a modular architecture in mind, but I would like to leave it open to encourage novel ideas.

Do give me a shout, if you find this interesting..