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ICT in Medicine
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Body scanners

A body scanner sends electromagnetic rays through a patient’s body and sensors detect how much different parts of the body absorb the rays.

A computer uses this data to build up an image of the inside of a patient’s body.

Body scanners allow doctors to find and treat conditions such as tumours in their early stages when the chances of treating them successfully are much greater.

Patient monitoring

Computers are used in hospitals to monitor critically ill patients in intensive care units.

The patient has sensors attached to him which detect changes in heart rate, pulse rate, blood pressure, breathing and brain activity.

If any of these fall below a preset level the computer sounds an alarm and alerts the medical staff.

The data is also logged and used to analyse the changes in a patient’s condition over a period of time.

Organ transplants

Computerised databases are used to help match patients who are waiting for organ transplants such as a new kidney, liver or heart, with suitable organs from donors.

Patient records

Computerised databases are used by every hospital in the country to store information about patients.

Uses of these databases include: organising the transfer of patients between wards recording the history of a patient’s appointments with a consultant booking outpatient appointments booking ambulances ordering equipment.

How computer science equips medical research

This video shows recent advances in computing has enabled biologists to sequence and decode species' entire genetic codes into a gnome. The use of a BBC newsreel and interviews highlight the increasing dependency of scientists on the storage and processing capabilities of computer systems; and how this is being used to compare the genetic codes of bacteria to identify the source of infectious diseases such as cholera. It also highlights some of the data storage and processing challenges associated with collecting, storing, and effectively and efficiently interrogating extremely large data sets.

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