A History of Computerized Medical Interviews

  • Warner V. Slack
Part of the M. D. Computing: Benchmark Papers book series (MD COMPUTING)


My work with patient/computer dialogue began in 1964 in collaboration with Philip Hicks, Lawrence Van Cura, and other colleagues at the University of Wisconsin. We hypothesized that we could program a computer to take a medical history directly from a patient. Our motivation came in part from a theoretical question: Could a computer model the physician? Could it actually interview a patient? There were also practical motives. Northern Wisconsin was short of physicians; for those who were seeing up to 40 or 50 patients a day, there was barely enough time to ask “Where does it hurt?,” let alone all the other questions in the standard interview. In America, taking medical histories is a time-consuming and expensive process; talk is not cheap in medicine.


Uterine Cancer Allergy History Computer Interview Wisconsin Hospital General Medical History 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

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  • Warner V. Slack

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