The infrastructure of the health system is comprised of both physical and knowledge-based components. The physical components include hospitals, schools, research facilities, medical equipment, and doctors. The knowledge component deals with the teaching of students, research, and education of patients. Middleware acts to bridge the gap between the physical and knowledge based parts of health care.
Some middleware elements of the health infrastructure are educators and universities, insurers, and medical laws and standards.. Universities and medical schools train students to become capable in the field of medicine, and modern medicinal practices would be impossible without the education they provide. Insurers are middleware to help their customers pay for medical bills. A nationalized healthcare system can act as an insurer for all of the citizens of a country, providing taxpayers with assistance in paying for or giving free medical checkups and procedures. Laws and standards in the medical field provide a middleware element of consistency and regulation to patients. Laws and standards must be provided by a governmental authority to provide safety in medicine to allow the public to trust healthcare providers.
These middleware elements provide a structure allows the physical and knowledge side of the health care to seamlessly coincide and communicate. One example of how middleware works to do this is through educators and universities. Universities train students to use the physical components that are required in the healthcare industry. Most medical procedures require knowledge that has been discovered by researchers in universities as well. This constantly evolving body of knowledge is available for students to learn which allows them to be capable workers in healthcare.
Some elements of the middleware are controlled by the government, such as laws and standards. These are required to have a governing force behind them because without enforcement, accountability could not be handled if a mistake were made.
New knowledge is being made very quickly in the healthcare industry. Middleware must be able to support new knowledge, reaching students, doctors, as well as patients. Universities act as both producers and teachers of the new knowledge, and their procedures change accordingly to the onset of new discoveries. New classes are added and different material is taught in order to keep up with the changing practices in the medical field. Middleware must be able to change rapidly with the gain of new knowledge that happens at a high rate in today’s world.