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January 1971

What Possible Use Can Computers Be to Medicine?

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC

From the Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;127(1):96-98. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310130100015

The physician's attitude toward computing machinery has changed greatly in the last ten years. A bright future is predicted for its application within medicine.1 A great deal of progress has been made in recent years toward the practical application of computers to medicine. This may be seen in the automation of the clinical chemistry laboratory, approaches toward collating clinical progress data, monitoring systems, electrocardiographic systems, library retrieval techniques, multiphasic screening data collection devices, and the almost ubiquitous appearance of the statistical "P value."2-5 Following the experience of the business community, computing technology's place will be found on a trial and error basis and the utility of the machine for a specific selected application will become apparent.

While the future seems bright, it also appears expensive. Most of these applications have been made possible by large public and private grants. Nearly all applications have a marginal cost-benefit justification, yet

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