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February 22, 1971

The Programmed Physical Examination With or Without a Computer

Author Affiliations

From the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington.

JAMA. 1971;215(8):1281-1285. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03180210027005

Using a variation of the technique previously developed to obtain the patient's medical history with a programmed medical history (PMH), we have developed a practical and economical method of recording the results of the physical examination. The programmed physical examination, like the PMH, can be used in any physician's office without special equipment. The physician completes a paper-and-pencil questionnaire containing 1,753 questions. Since branching techniques are employed, the physician need only enter the vital signs and answer 16 questions for a patient with no abnormal findings. Completion time for the physician is less than five minutes, in fact, when used for a well patient, less than 30 seconds. An easily read printout of all the physical findings, arranged in traditional format, is made by the secretary in about ten minutes.