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July 27, 1963

Computer Procedure as Aid in Diagnosis-Reply

JAMA. 1963;185(4):329. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060040113046

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To the Editor:—  We agree most wholeheartedly with Dr. Nertney's comment that computer-based diagnostic procedures will at best prove to be "aids" to the physician. It has never been envisioned that the computer can or will replace the physician. There should be no more reluctance on the part of the practicing physician to accept such computer procedures than to accept the advice of a consultant or to use a new and powerful diagnostic test.The question of degree to which one should rely on a statistical procedure should itself be amenable to a statistical answer. If computers can be programmed to agree with the most expert diagnosticians as well as the experts agree among themselves (as we believe entirely feasible), then the question is simply whether the physicians using the computers can do as well. In many areas of medicine, extreme specialization and experience are necessary to achieve expertness in

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