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Computer Diagnosis

Am J Dis Child. 1974;127(6):793-794. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1974.02110250019002.
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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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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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