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June 1974

Computer Diagnosis

Author Affiliations

Professor of Medicine University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY 14642

Am J Dis Child. 1974;127(6):793-794. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110250019002

Few of us have the prodigious memory of a Solzhenytsin or a Capote. A readily available computer memory could work wonders for most of us. Memory suggests recall of a remote event retrieved from the recesses of our minds by the stimulation of new associations. Memory serves most of us poorly. We rely extensively on anecdotal information, except as our practices are highly organized and data are readily retrievable.

It is self-evident that a diagnosis cannot be made unless it is recalled from a list of differential diagnoses either in the storage of the physician's mind or, as in the article by Barness et al (see page 852), the storage of a computer. If the physician consulting the computer has no prior knowledge of all the items listed by the computer in the differential diagnosis, he can have no recall, and, therefore, another signal must be received in the user's

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