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February 4, 1983

'Peopleware' and medical informatics

JAMA. 1983;249(5):574-576. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330290010003

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There was a little bit of everything at the first IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Computer Society International Conference on Medical Computer Science/Computational Medicine (MEDCOMP) in Philadelphia. On the program were more than 120 papers from 11 countries.

Emphasis on an element that conference chair Judith M. S. Prewitt, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health and Ohio University, Athens, called "peopleware" also distinguished the conference. In other words, issues of user orientation and acceptance came in for much discussion.

Techniques were reported for analyzing and solving problems in introducing computers, and in applications including laboratory systems, computer-assisted consultation and education for health professionals, and computers to aid the handicapped. In particular, speakers stressed that specific user groups must be studied to determine their needs and their working and thinking styles. They presented different ideas for building flexibility into programs so that users could interact with the computer