Bamboo Software Ltd www.acupartner.com Available in UK from Harmony Medical, £395
(Reviewed by Alan Rouse, EJOM Vol. 6 No. 2)
We last reviewed the AcuPartner Software in our summer edition 2000 (Vol.3 No.3) when our reviewer called it ‘the best acupuncture reference software’. The 2008 AcuPartner Professional drew considerable interest at our recent annual conference, so we thought we’d look at it again, and judging by my recent assessment, it is still up there with the best. The new software has been considerably enhanced, with a much deeper diagnostic concept, greatly improved charts and point description, and a variety of clinic management options.
The programme comes as a CD and I had no problem in downloading it with my Windows XP system. There is an 83-page manual available with the system and there are videos available on line which show you how to use the system. The programme is easy to use and almost everything you ever learned about acupuncture is there at your fingertips. There are meridian and coloured points charts, with the ability to home in and enlarge each point and obtain a description of its position and purpose. You can bring up a diagnosis of the patient by inserting symptoms and readings, with a suggested treatment plan including points, herbs and patent remedies.
One advantage of this programme is that it’s purpose-built to provide fast, pertinent information, unlike many programmes that appear to reproduce pages from a manual. AcuPartner is particularly designed to give the practitioner a working facility, with patient forms linked to diagnosis, points and herbs.
There is also a section on clinic management, with patient data base, consultation and treatment forms, invoicing, inventory taking and medical report generation. Another version, Knowledge Pro, does not have the clinic and management sections.
How it works Let me walk you through the system. From the Home Page you can click on Knowledge, Clinic (patient files and statistics), Manager, Maps, or a combination of any two or three together. The Knowledge page then gives you headings for proceeding entitled: Syndrome, Disease, Formula, Herbs, Points, Meridian, Organs and Maps.
Under Syndrome, for instance, you will see a further list: Organ, Eight Principles, Qi Blood Body/Fluid Syndromes, Pathogenic Factors, Five Elements, 6 Stages, 4 Levels and 3 Burners.
Click on Organ and you get a list of ten organs. I clicked on Heart and was presented with the following list: Ht Qi def, Yang def, Yang collapse, Ht Blood def, Ht Yin def, Ht Fire blazing, Ht Phlegm fire, Ht Phlegm no heat, Ht Bl stag.
For the purpose of this test I chose Heart Fire Blazing. I was given: Key, red tongue, tongue ulcers; Symptoms, thirst, palpitations; Other symptoms, insomnia, red face, mental restlessness, yellow coating tongue; Etiology: Emotional problems (anxiety, worry, depression), leading to chronic qi stagnation, heat and liver fire.
Treatment: Points Ht 9, Ht 7, CV 15, Sp 6, Ki 3 reducing. There were explanations for the use of each point. Herbal formula: Xie Xia Tang (in Latin, Drain the Epigastrium Decoction); Herbs: Huang Lian (Latin version, rhizoma coptidis). Herbal properties are explained.
Flexibility One great feature of this software is that it gives the practitioner the opportunity to customise the recommended treatments. At the press of your mouse you can add your own preferred points for each problem and add herbs or formulae that you prefer to the ones given.
There is an extensive Client Database, including forms for the consultation and treatment of each patient. On this you can bring up the recommended treatment for the disease and then add new treatments to suit the individual patient. The software enables you to switch from patient details to treatment details, updating and improving as you go, bringing up charts and disease pictures to suit.
Under the next section Disease you are given the following list: Neurological, emotional, musculo-skeletal, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, skin, women’s, men’s, respiratory, miscellaneous. Choosing Gastrointestinal, for instance, you are given a sub list of epigastric pain, hypochondrial pain, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation.
Click on Epigastric and you are offered: St yin def, cold invades St, retention of food, Li chi invading St, St heat, St phlegm Ht, blood stag in St, retention of fluids.
Take ‘cold invades stomach’ and the Etiology is: 1, Exposure to cold environment; 2, Excess consumption of cold food or drink, raw food. Symptoms: acute severe epigastric pain with sudden onset of chilliness, desire for warmth in St area, no thirst, desire for warm drinks, pain worse on pressure, nausea, vomiting, pain worse after eating, moist tongue, white coating and tight pulse or may be a deep pulse.
Treatment: Principle, scatter cold, warm the St, stop pain. Points: St 36, CV 12, PC 6, Sp 4. Formula: Liang Fu Wan. Herbs: Gao Liang Jiang.
Under the ‘Formula’ section there is a list of 19 symptoms, such as ‘clear heat’, ‘treat dryness’, ‘expel wind’ and ‘tonify’, for which formulae are given. Similarly for Herbs there are 18 symptoms, such as ‘drain dampness’, ‘dispel wind dampness’, ‘relieve food stagnation’ and ‘calm the spirit’ for which recommended herbs are given. The ‘Points’ section offers 18 sub sections, including meridian, extra, source yuan, accumulation xi cleft, connecting luo. divergent, hororary. front mu and back shu.
The coloured charts are easy to understand and any section or individual point can be enlarged with a click. There is a moving curser that goes along each meridian, naming the points. Stop it at any point and you get a full description of the point, its detailed location, action, its nature, clinical use, problems it deals with, technique for using and whether you can moxa.
Clinic management Apart from individual patient forms with session documentation, other clinic management forms are for patient or supplier billing, inventory management and supplier stock, insurance claims, with medical and management report generation.
You can bring up a patient form and look at the details including past and present history and treatment details*. You can split the screen to compare the treatment with a chart of points or contrasting herbs and if required you can store pictures of the patient’s disease (perhaps a skin problem), showing its progress.
The software has been designed and improved with the help of practitioners, customers and distributors in Israel and other parts of the world. The firm had ten staff working on the new version for a year. The old version AcuPartner Knowledge and Clinic was translated from English into Spanish, Portuguese and Russian. This new Professional software is in those languages and also in German. Next year they plan to translate it into Chinese.
Bamboo Software president Tamar Netzer says she is arranging dealerships in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, USA, South America and various countries in Europe. She confidently believes she has a superior product and that it will improve the working habits of practitioners everywhere.
Harmony also sell the AcuPartner Student (a TCM learning tool) and AcuPartner Point for £65 each.
* You must not keep patient records on a computer unless you are registered under the Data Protection Act 1998. Details of whether you need to register are available on the Data Protection Register site at www.dpr.gov.uk.
Alan Rouse A former journalist and practitioner, Alan Rouse is a member of the EJOM editorial team. Alan enjoyed a successful 30-year career in acupuncture (B.Ac), osteopathy, homoeopathy and naturopathy. Alan is the author of an e-book Build A Successful Practice and Retire in Comfort and gives advice on health matters through the internet.