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July 19, 1965

Social Security Numbers in Record Filing

Author Affiliations

Attleboro, Mass

JAMA. 1965;193(3):250. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090030072034

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To the Editor:—  General hospitals have complex filing problems involving storage of medical records on in-patients, emergency room records, x-ray films and reports, slides and reports on autopsies and surgical tissue examinations, laboratory examination reports, and reports on electrocardiograms. Depending upon the size and type of the hospital, its record-keeping problems may also include records from several out-patient clinics, special laboratories, treatment departments, and research projects.To avoid alphabetic filing by the patient's name, it has become almost a universal custom to file medical records, x-rays, etc, by assigned numbers. Numerical filing eliminates the disadvantages of hunting through filed record material stored alphabetically. It introduces the alternate problems of assigning numbers for each patient in each department and looking up the number each time the file material on a particular patient is needed for readmission or reexamination.The problem of frequent references to material on the same patient filed in

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