I saw this post on Yahoo about how an Internet system helps with asthma control. One quote in particular struck me "Self-assessment and self-management are the goal". Absolutely. Automating decisions is a key part in how healthcare providers can reach out and drive self-assessment and self-management - after all, what is the system doing but automating the decision "how am I?" and the decision "what should I do for my health?" as well as possibly the decision "should I go see my doctor?". Using business rules for this kind of decision automation has lots of benefits. Not only can medical professionals interact with the business rules to check them and edit them (something they could not do with code) they can also be empowered to specify additional rules for specific patients based on their know-how and context - something very important in the integration of evidence-based medicine with patient context.
This whole area of using technology, and increasingly mobile technology, to help patients manage their own health is a growing and fascinating one. So much so that I am participated in a webinar with Marc Holland of IDC Health Industry Insights on this topic with Health Data Management - Making the Most of Mobile Technology.