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February 22, 1971

Evaluation of Computer-Acquired Patient Histories

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Computer Science (Drs. Grossman and Barnett and Mr. Swedlow) and the Department of Psychiatry (Dr. McGuire), Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

JAMA. 1971;215(8):1286-1291. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180210032006

A system for automated collection of patients' medical histories has been developed. The patient is interviewed by the computer system and a printed summary of the interview is made available to the physician. During the past two years, this system has been evaluated with respect to patient attitudes, physician attitudes, and completeness and accuracy of the data. Patients have had a favorable attitude towards the computer system; physicians' attitudes are mixed. The automated technique records more items than are found in physician-recorded medical records, and there is a high degree of agreement when the data are compared to those of physician-recorded histories. The final assessment of the potential value and utility of such a technique must be considered in light of the particular care environment in which it is to be applied.