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December 8, 1978

Computers in Medicine

JAMA. 1978;240(24):2613-2617. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290240013003

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Computers now can be used in diagnostic cytological examinations, in the differential diagnosis of abdominal pain, in predicting the probability that patients with appendicitis have gangrene or perforation, and in maintaining patient charts and billing records.

In fact, computers these days are found throughout hospitals in laboratories, radiology departments, emergency rooms, and nursing stations. They are a crucial part of ECG and EEG monitoring systems. In addition, they serve as a core of instructional techniques in many medical schools, both for basic medical sciences and for simulations of clinical situations.

As the importance of this technology to medicine has grown, some computer uses are particularly noteworthy:

  • At Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, a computer automatically adjusts the amounts of fluids administered intravenously to burn patients. Such variables as blood pressure, urine output, and arterial and central venous pressures are computer monitored to determine when more or less fluids may be