SafeMed, a San Diego provider of Web-based diagnostic services, sold a 40 percent stake to Hicks Holdings, a private investment vehicle for the Hicks family. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

SafeMed, founded in 2000, is developing Web services that can help doctors identify and order appropriate diagnostic tests and drug treatments for patients based on the analysis of a patient’s symptoms, health history and insurance coverage. The system is also designed to flag possible medical errors or gaps in treatment according to best-practice guidelines. Or, as the company puts it:

SafeMed’s patient-specific and payer-specific analysis provides a foundation for better-informed clinical decisions, transforming the practice of medicine and the economics of healthcare. Physicians benefit from accurate and comprehensive information on therapeutic alternatives, reduced medical error, reduced liability, improved operating efficiencies, and the potential for increased revenue through payer pay-for-performance (P4P) programs.

Should the SafeMed system work as advertised, this is exactly the sort of thing that advocates of healthcare IT should love. Increasingly, improving the quality of medical care — which, contrary to popular belief, remains a serious issue in the U.S. — is likely to mean both adherence to best-practice standards and personalization of treatment in order to account for the unique circumstances of each patient. Tools that help doctors sort through what is likely to become a bewildering set of variables will undoubtedly play a key role in future medical treatment.

We’ll just have to see if SafeMed’s system is part of that vision or not.