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January 8, 1982

Computers in Medicine-Reply

JAMA. 1982;247(2):174. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320270013007

In Reply.—  It is a pleasure to respond to the comments of Dr Yasnoff and his associates. Although my review was limited to computers in the clinical laboratory, clearly the use of computers in medicine includes a wide range of topics, involving all medical specialities.With regard to in-line documentation, my experience is quite different from that of Dr Yasnoff and his associates. By in-line documentation, I mean a complete description of program flow and program logic, incorporated within the program itself. Such in-line documentation is not "nearly as old as programming."In our experience, the in-line approach solves many documentation problems. Documentation as part of the computer program is "on hand" and easily updated when programs are revised. Because in-line documentation is updated when programs are revised, it accurately reflects "real life" code. This improved accuracy greatly facilitates program maintenance. Our favorable experience is consistent with experience at other