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Article
June 8, 1994

Personal Physician

Author Affiliations

The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Baltimore, Md

 

by Isadore Rosenfeld, one 3.5-in or 5.25-in diskette for IBM-Tandy PC or compatible, 640K memory, DOS at least 2.0; documentation: 23-pp manual, $59.95, West Bloomfield, Mich, Family-Care Software, 1993.

JAMA. 1994;271(22):1808. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510460102050
Abstract

The goal of Personal Physician is to help adults better understand their medical concerns. It aims to simulate a health care professional who takes a patient history and provides recommendations. The software serves as a source of medical information "on call 24 hours a day... in the privacy of your own home."

In this simple, menu-driven program, the user first chooses from among 11 common complaints, 12 types of discomfort and pain, and five categories of health maintenance. After selecting the concern of interest, a series of yes/no questions guides the user through a decision tree and usually ends with a diagnosis, treatment recommendation, or course of action.

Personal Physician is easily accessible for reference. It can therefore provide reassurance and advice when a health professional may not be readily available. For potentially embarrassing medical complaints, such as male sexual dysfunction, the privacy offered by the program may be especially

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