Healthcare process management in Python: a use case

Summary

[EuroPython 2011] Federico Caboni - 24 June 2011 in "Track Tagliatelle "

Description

In this talk I'll describe our successful experience in introducing Python into a system for blood collection tube labeling in laboratory and hospital environments, based on IHE Technical Frameworks –the industry standard for modeling and streamlining healthcare processes– and designed to avoid human errors and ensure process traceability.

During the talk I will explain why we chose Python in the first place, how we've been able to leverage the language's features and characteristics for our specific field and what problems and limitations we faced.

I will show specific instances of Python usage in different parts of the project, including a low-level driver for laboratory automation machinery, an asynchronous messaging module, the implementation of IHE-compliant actors and the inevitable end-user web application, implemented with Django.

Using Python greatly helped us in building our system, allowing very rapid prototyping cycles for both hardware and software, but during the talk I'll also point out what we found was missing, and what would be nice to have to ensure Python has its proper place as a viable platform for designing streamlined healthcare workflows based on established international standards.