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December 5, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;238(23):2465-2473. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280240011003

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Clinical chemists take hard look at medicine's information explosion  The age of computerized information hit medicine about ten years ago with the introduction of automated laboratory tests. The change brought about by the unprecedented volume, precision, and feedback of information has been called a revolution, no less in scope than that caused by the advent of the autopsy 150 years ago.But how useful to physicians are all the new laboratory data? Some answers were forthcoming at the first Arnold O. Beckman Conference, "The Laboratory and the Physician," sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Chemists and held in Annapolis, Md.Each year new laboratory tests are introduced for assessment of previously unquantifiable enzymes or other substances in blood or tissues, or simply as new ways of quantitating old indices. Yet the rationale for the new tests, and the proper way to interpret their results, particularly when "abnormal," are