- on Informative articles and electronics technology
- Published in issue 4/1986 on page 64
Computers and health care
by Helena Buswell When a 38 year old Scot- tish housewife made an appointment to visit her doctor at the local health centre, she was unaware of the role that computers were about to play in her life. Mrs Ann Robertson (not her real name) had stomach pains, and, like most people, was nervous when she tried to describe her condition. Dr Michael Ryan had before him a summary listing his patient"s details produced by the health centre"s own computer ready for Mrs Robertson"s visit. He could see at a glance her age, number of children, occupation, height, weight, blood pressure, previous and cur- rent health problems, and other demographic data relevant to her general health. Almost all of the 56 million population is registered with one of about 50 000 general practioners (GPs), contracted to work within the National Health Ser- vice (NHS). Each GP has a list of several thousand people, and for each and every one he has case notes - most going back to that person"s birth. At health...