[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
May 20, 1974

Criteria in the Choice of a Computer System: II. The Computer in Practice

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, William Pepper Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1974;228(8):1015-1017. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230330045019

IN general, the computer contributes to improved patient care in the clinical laboratory principally through improvement in laboratory and medical records. It helps to provide complete and accurately verified input.1 It has the capacity to collate reliably, to print legibly, and to retrieve records rapidly. All these are important improvements over handwritten records. When combined with a useable system of useful laboratory reports, these functions of the computer can afford an improvement in the clerical tasks of patient care analogous to the improvement in the intellectual sphere provided by Lawrence Weed's system of problem-oriented records.

On the other hand, the almost infinite powers of the computer in clerical tasks have led to the concept of having the computer record everything in the expectation that it will somehow sort out all of the data and give us back just what we need. I suggest that Dr. Weed has done more