Choosing Macromedia Technologies over .NET and Java

There’s an interesting article on INTERNETWEEK about a company called Mitem Corporation which has decided to go with Macromedia technologies over .NET or Java for an application they are building for the healthcare industry. The application is called Blue Iris, and it will allow doctors to use computers to do a lot of things they currently use stacks and stacks of paper for now, like documenting medical histories, recording test results, and prescribing medication.

According to the article, what Mitem finds particularly attractive about using Flash to implement the Blue Iris user interface is that they are able to easily recreate some of the paper-based processes that doctors are accustomed to. Apparently doctors are generally not overly excited about getting acquainted with new technologies, so the key to getting them to accept a new system is to keep the learning curve as gentle as possible.

The article is actually slightly misleading (though not intentionally so). What it should say is that Mitem has decided to use Flash over Microsoft technology or a Java applet for their user interface. They are still using Java on the back-end, though they are going with a 100% Macromedia solution since JRun is their server of choice.As an aside, what is it with doctors and new technology? Whenever I am in a doctor’s office, I’m always amazed by how low-tech their operation is, and I always envision myself writing a bunch of applications to make their lives easier, and passing out tablet PCs or laptops for everyone to use. They have fancy diagnostic equipment, but then they have entire walls — from floor to ceiling — of paper files and require as many administrative assistances as there are nurses and doctors to keep it all organized. And it’s not like doctors excel in penmanship, so what do they have against computers? I was having my house painted a few months ago, and one of the painters asked me who I worked for. I told him Macromedia, and he recognized the name right away, and told me how much he loved Flash technology. Then I went to the doctor a few weeks later, and the doctor asked me the same question, but not only had he never heard of Macromedia, but he hadn’t heard of Flash or Java, either. Any doctors out there who can provide an explanation?But I digress. Check out the article.

5 Responses to Choosing Macromedia Technologies over .NET and Java

  1. Rob Brooks-Bilson says:

    Christian,Having worked in the medical field for 9 years, I can say that there are really two sides to the issue (isn’t there always). First, deploying systems and software in a mediacl environment isn’t as simple as hiring a consulting company to come in and put together a system. Many technologies used in hospitals actually require FDA approval. Additionally, because of liability concerns, the actual development and deployment of systems in a health-care environment tends to be much more rigorous than in the rest of the corporate world. Imagine what a simple bug in a perscription drug fullfillment program could do.The second issue is cost. These technologies tend to cost moer development because of the stringent requirements, and this can be a prohibitive factor for their implementation. I think you tend to see a lot more “new” technology in newer doctors offices and hospitals as the cost of the technology can be factored into the cost of building the new hospital/office. I think older offices and hospitals are a lot slower to adopt these technologies because of the high cost involved in upgrading/updating.That said, I have seen a lot more technology being used in health care. For example, my dentist’s office is totally modern. Everything from my records to the X-Ray machine. I go in, they can pull everything up on a terminal right at my chair. When they do x-rays, they are digital and can be pulled up on that same screen, etc.The last time I was in a hospital, they had just deployed a system utilizing PDAs for several functions.

  2. Mitem (not Miterm) is an interesting integration middleware component that has been around for a while.What is important about BlueIris is that they have used Macromedia technology as a conveninent way to extract data from a very closed, proprietary solution (Meditech) and combine it in the Flash player. Mitem’s middleware component sits in the middle.So what is important is that you can get at different bits of data in Meditech (through Mitem), and then combine those bits into logical chunks that reflect the way that doctor works.

  3. Christian Cantrell says:

    Rob,That’s true. I forgot that my dentist’s office is very high-tech. Just about everything but the actual cleaning is done on an LCD that floats above the chair. Maybe I was too hard on the medial industry. I was just surprised that my painter seemed more technically savvy than my doctor.

  4. Dave Carabetta says:

    This topic also came up on the cf-talk list as well.They didn’t choose Flash over Java, as many seem to be implying. They chose Flash as their *client-side* technology of choice, which is sort of a no-brainer if you’ve ever worked with Java applets and/or .NET controls. They are still using Java (JRun 4) as their back-end solution though. Admittedly, JRun is a “Macromedia Technology,” but I think the rest of the title (“and Java”) is a bit misleading.Also, for those with experience in the medical field, are the companies that provide the technology (in this case, Macromedia) in any way liable for potential bugs, etc., that may lead to malpractice suits? I’m not entirely sure why they would be, but nowadays you can sue anyone for anything, so I figured I’d ask out of curiosity. Logically, I would assume it’s the developer who coded the program itself and not the underlying technology, but you never know. And last, does the enactment of HIPAA in any way effect the underlying technologies? For example, does JRun have to go through a review process by the FDA or some governing body before it’s declared usable in the field?Sorry for all the questions, but I’ve always been interested in the fusion of medicine and technology, but shyed away because I thought there might be more headaches that is worth it.

  5. says:

    I have seen a lot more technology being used in health care. For example, my dentist’s office is totally modern. Everything from my records to the X-Ray machine. I go in, they can pull everything up on a terminal right at my chair. When they do x-rays, they are digital and can be pulled up on that same screen, etc.