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6.10 Computers in Medicine



Computers in Medicine

Over the last 50 years, computers have had an increasingly important role in medicine. As covered in the measurement lesson, computers have long been used to monitor patients’ data and vital signs, but computers are now rapidly taking a central role in the operating theatre .

This explores how computers have been used to benefit medicine, together with what the future might hold for medicine of the future.


Patient Records

Computerised patient records

Before the advent of computers, patient medical data was kept in filing cabinets which took a lot of space and time to find a particular information. In addition, unauthorised persons accessed sensitive information with relative ease. Specially designed software programmes designed and used to eliminated the need for physical archiving of patient data as well as increased security of patient medical information.

Pharmacy Records

Computerised pharmacy records

As well as patient data being stored by doctors practices, pharmacies use computers to store and process a vast amount of information.

Computer systems are used to keep track of stock levels, useful for ordering and stock management, long term stock level and product demand data can be used to analyse the spread of infectious diseases such as cold and flu outbreaks.


3D Printing

3D Printing

3D printers can now be used for a variety of medical purposes:

  • Surgical aids
  • Prosthetic legs
  • 3D Tissue
  • Medical tools & Equipment

Medical calculations

Medical Calculations

Genome project

Genome projects are scientific endeavors that ultimately aim to determine the complete genome sequence of an organism


  1. Its improved genetic testing by finding specific genes linking these illnesses together
  2. Can personalise medicines as Information about a person’s DNA can be useful for forensic science
  3. Creates new gene therapy treatments


  1. Animals they use may contain diseases harmful to humans
  2. Can be expensive
  3. Ethical reasons may be against cloning and genetic engineering

Protein Folding



Microscopy imagining

Microscopy or the use of microscopes is of utmost importance for analysing samples, and determining the cause of health problems and proper treatment or management of a particular condition. Specialised software is used in microscope image processing which dramatically reduces the amount of medical errors and improves the quality of healthcare. Such processing is also used by a number of other fields of medicine including biomedical research, drug testing