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May 25, 1963

Modernizing the Management of the Air Force Medical Service

Author Affiliations

Washington, D.C.

JAMA. 1963;184(8):622-625. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700210056009

The US Air Force has successfully applied electronic data-processing to one phase of the management of its system of hospitals. Records of more than 400,000 patients from 216 hospitals and dispensaries throughout the world are processed yearly. For each inpatient, a one-page clinical summary is coded and the data are recorded on punched cards or magnetic tape. These data are transmitted electronically to the headquarters in Washington, where machine tabulations and listings are made and transmitted back to each hospital within a month of the reporting period. This system makes it possible to allocate to each hospital the part of a patient's care given there, analyze a hospital's workload according to specialty "demand" in addition to specialty service actually given, and use monthly punched-card listings to replace hand-posted diagnosis reference indexes.