Software has been around since the late 1940s. Computer scientist Tom Kilburn wrote the first software piece which was run on the 21st of June 1948 in England at the University of Manchester. The term ‘software’ was created by statistician John Tukey which he discussed in an article on computer programming (Yost, 2018). The first poison information center was opened in 1949 in the Netherlands due to a rapid increase in the production of potentially toxic new drugs and chemical products that followed after World War II (World Health Organization, 2019). A few years later, the idea of poison centers in the United States of America was formed by a part-time secretary at the American Academy of Pediatrics (Health Resources & Services Administration, n.d.).
In the early 1950s, the secretary began to write index cards with notes on products that might be harming children. She called around to the hospitals in Chicago gathering information on what was poisoning the children who were brought into their emergency rooms. She then called production companies asking what ingredients could potentially be toxic for children. From this, doctors began to contact her for information on what could be potentially poisoning their patients.
The secretary eventually spoke to a group of medical professionals, requesting that they set treatment guidelines for anyone who may want to prevent toxins from harming their children, they used the 1000 index cards of toxicology notes, and from this emerged the first poison centers (Health Resources & Services Administration, n.d.).
The first poison centers were instituted in North America and Europe and in some developing countries, poison centers are the only source of information available 24/7. Most poison information centers today deal with both animal and human toxicology cases however, in some countries, including Australia, France, and the United States of America, they have established veterinary poison information centers specializing in animal poisoning issues (World Health Organization, 1997).
There was a viability gap found with Poisons Centre’s software from various Countries. They were not using current or supported software and concern was expressed about the downtime in their case management systems.
In late 2016, a move was made to fill this gap in the market. Work was implemented and development began. During the last four years, the building, with recommendations and ever-growing experience, ToxAware Software has come to life!
Health Resources & Services Administration (n.d.). Poison Centers. Poison Help. https://poisonhelp.hrsa.gov/poison-centers
World Health Organization (2019, February). World directory of poison centers. https://www.who.int/gho/phe/chemical_safety/poisons_centres_text/en/
World Health Organization (1997). International Programme on Chemical Safety: Guidelines for Poison Control.
Yost, M. (2018, January 26). A Brief History of Software Development. Medium. https://medium.com/@micahyost/a-brief-history-of-software-development-f67a6e6ddae0