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Programming Prescriptions: A Clinician Usable Patient-Oriented Prescription Programming Language



A medical prescription is a set of health care instructions that govern the plan of care for an individual patient; it includes orders for drug therapy, diet, clinical assessment, laboratory testing, and more. Clinicians have long used algorithmic thinking to describe and implement these prescriptions but without the benefit of an executable programming language. Instead, medical algorithms are expressed using a natural language patois, flowcharts, or as structured data in an electronic medical record system. The lack of a prescription programming language inhibits expressiveness, results in prescriptions that are difficult to understand, hard to debug, and awkward to reuse, and increases the risk of fatal medical error. This poster discusses the design and evaluation of POP-PL, a domain-specific programming language designed for expressing prescriptions. The language is based around the idea that programs and humans have complementary strengths that, when combined properly, can make for safer, more accurate performance of prescriptions. Use of POP-PL facilitates automation of certain low-level vigilance tasks, freeing up human cognition for abstract thinking, compassion, and human communication.

Spencer P. Florence, et al.

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

April, 2018

DOI: 10.21985/N22M4V