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Original Contributions
June 15, 1964

Manipulation of Autopsy Diagnoses by Computer Technique

JAMA. 1964;188(11):958-962. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060370014003

A new system of coding and storing autopsy records for searching by computer has been tested on a sample of 500 records. Coding is done by computer routines, handcoding being eliminated. Records are put into the system in natural language, as they are originally written. The separate words are translated into a classification code based principally on pathological process and anatomic site. All information is coded; nothing is deleted. Twenty-seven questions representing a wide range of information requests (generic to specific) were searched. The results (3,115 total answers of which three were spurious) indicated high accuracy for the system. Possible widespread application is suggested.