Google testing app that can read prescriptions written by doctors

Google testing app that can read prescriptions written by doctors
It's been a long-standing joke that no one can read Doctors' handwriting. Except that it really is no joke. Poor handwriting can lead to serious pharmaceutical errors which could lead to accidental deaths. In other words, this is a serious matter. Some states request that physicians send prescriptions to the pharmacy electronically which cuts down on such mistakes. According to a report released last year by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), 1.5 million injuries occur each year because pharmacists and healthcare workers misread sloppy handwriting.

Google is going to try and come to the rescue. TechCrunch reports that Google, during its annual Google for India conference held in India today (where else would it be held?), announced that it is working with pharmacists on a way to interpret what doctors have written on their prescription pads. Google has developed a research prototype app that is not ready for public use at this time. It involves taking a photo of the prescription or uploading one from a photo library.

Once the image of the prescription or the one uploaded from the photo library is processed, this app finds and highlights the medicines written on the prescription or the note from the photo library. A Google executive displayed the technology and the company said, "This will act as an assistive technology for digitizing handwritten medical documents by augmenting the humans in the loop such as pharmacists, however no decision will be made solely based on the output provided by this technology."

It sounds like the app will be used in conjunction with a pharmacist's eyes to determine which medicine to dispense from a given script. If Google can get this technology figured out, it might be a big step toward reducing the number of injuries caused by sloppy handwriting. Right now, the technology is in research prototype and Google has yet to make a decision about whether to launch it. Technology like this could help patients around the world, not just in India.
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