Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 167 / AUGUST 1994 / PAGE 104

Home Medical Advisor Pro. (home medical software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Eddie Huffman

If you're among the fainthearted, Home Medical Advisor Pro from Pixel Perfect isn't for you. On second thought, maybe it is. Let's just say HMA Pro isn't very pleasant to look at. In some ways, however, it's very easy to look at.

Confused? Don't be. Actually, HMA Pro is an excellent CD-ROM reference tool for looking up medical concerns large and small. The only things hard to look at are the graphic medical images--the picture of a guy with a knife in his back, for instance, or the video footage of joint replacement surgery. So if you are fainthearted, just keep the graphics turned off. And while you may not want to use the very graphic medical graphics for your screen saver, they can be invaluable for illustrating any number of ailments and maladies.

The program is easy to look at in the sense that finding information couldn't be simpler or more intuitive. Let's say you have an inexplicable rash on your skin--1 of the more than 1000 symptoms covered by HMA Pro. If so, there are a number of easy routes to a quick diagnosis. Since HMA Pro employs a fairly standard Windows interface, it's easy to take action using a mouse and only slightly more difficult to employ the keyboard.

To begin with, from HMA Pro's main screen you can use the mouse to move the cursor to the body part giving you trouble. You select a male or female image and see the full body from the front and rear and a closeup view of the head, allowing you to choose any part of the body. Once you select a part, HMA Pro gives you a choice of symptoms to explore further. After clicking on a symptom, you can get more information from 1 of more than 20,000 hypertext links, or you can take a question-and-answer test for a diagnosis of your particular problem.

There are other ways to go about getting more information, too. Just pressing a button will take you to files for diseases, injuries, poisons, health and diet, and prescription medicine. You can do text searches, scan photograph and video libraries, consult a medical glossary to look up unfamiliar words, and check your own medical history with a new HMA Pro feature: Your Medical Records. It allows you to enter your own medical history from a series of menus, and its Interact feature allows you to check the effects of mixing prescription drugs with each other or with other substances, such as alcohol or vitamins.

I can't personally attest to the accuracy of HMA Pro, but according to Pixel Perfect, a large number of doctors in many different fields make up the board of review for the program. The information is presented in straightforward layman's terms, with a medical glossary always handy for terms that are unfamiliar.

Photographs and videos appear in 256-color Super VGA. And everything loaded quickly and ran smoothly when I used the program on a 486-66 machine with 16MB of RAM and a double-speed CD-ROM drive. Even though it's CD-ROM based, the program takes up about 5MB on your hard drive.

While some of the video images are unquestionably gratuitous (how helpful or universal, for instance, is a video of two people cruising by using underwater scooters with a message about their safe use?), most of the features of HMA Pro serve a clear and useful purpose. And HMA Pro improves on its floppy-based predecessor not only by adding full-color photographs and videos but also by allowing you complete control over what you see. You can choose from several color combinations for the text and set the graphics to come on automatically, only after the program prompts you for them, or not at all. So even if you are fainthearted, don't shy away from Home Medical Advisor Pro. Whether you're just checking the interaction of two prescriptions or looking into a major disease, it's a quick and simple way to get helpful information.

Pixel Perfect

(800) 788-2099


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