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Editor's Correspondence
August 9/23, 2004

Computerized Interpretation of the Electrocardiogram

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Copyright 2004 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2004

Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(15):1698-1699. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.15.1698-a

Dr Hurst makes numerous excellent points in his piece What Do Good Doctors Try To Do?,1 including offering that "current computer interpretation of the electrocardiogram has failed us" and that "computer-generated interpretation removed the stimulus for some doctors to learn how to interpret tracings." As a former resident and current fellow, I face every day the computerized readout, and in a maneuver familiar to any student and house staff determined to learn and avoid being misled, fold back the top portion of the printout, where the computer diagnosis is printed. However, this technology should not be completely dismissed. We still miss too many myocardial infarctions (MIs), and newer techniques, such as artificial neural networks, may enhance our diagnostic accuracy.

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