One of the core concepts of this course is that medical informatics is the study of the structure, NOT the content of medical information. To that end, I try not to use medical content that will bewilder non-medically trained students.
At least, that is the intent.
One of you has already told me that the medical content of today's lecture (9/11/08) was too medically advanced for non-medically trained people. My apologies if that affected you. Usually, when one person brings up a problem, they are unintentionally speaking for several others.
So, I'd like to use this space to give you a place to ask specific questions about the medical content in my lectures and case studies. The basics of todays case study:
A busy hospital unit caring for patients with leukemia and lymphoma (cancers of the white blood cells and lymph glands, respectively). Two main modes of treatment:
1. Chemotherapy: powerful drugs destroy cancer cells but also depress production of red blood cells (carry oxygen), white blood cells (fight infection), and platelets (allow blood to clot).
2. Radiation therapy: high energy radiation is directed at cancerous lymph glands, or for some patients, to the whole body, to destroy cancer cells that are widespread.
Both therapies can leave patients with severe complications. The one addressed today is thrombocytopenia (low platelet counts in the bloodstream). This can lead to catastrophic bleeding episodes.
Best treatment is platelet transfusion (plateletes are suspended in fluid). Decision support system aimed to improve the quality of platelet transfusion decision-making.
Please post questions in the "Comments" field.