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Adv Exp Med Biol. 1994;349:87-96.

Applications of medical informatics in antibiotic therapy.

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  • 1LDS Hospital, Salt Lake City, Utah.


The Infectious Disease Society of America is concerned about the excessive and inappropriate use of antibiotics in U.S. hospitals. Applications of Medical Informatics can help improve the use of antibiotics and help improve patient care by monitoring and managing enormous amounts of patient information. Monitoring the duration of every antibiotic ordered in the hospital or keeping tract of the antibiotic susceptibilities for five years are examples of tasks better performed by computers. The impact of computers in medicine is seen by some as disappointing. The computer revolution has not had the impact in medicine experienced by other areas. The acceptance and use of computers by medicine will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In 1979, the MYCIN project demonstrated that the computer could aid physicians in the selection of antibiotics. However, MYCIN was never clinically used because physicians were require to enter all patient information into the computer. The development of computerized medical records is an essential step to further the development and implementation of computer-aided decision support. The science of Medical Informatics is still relatively new but is emerging as a distinct academic field. A few hospitals are now installing information systems and have determined that these systems will play an essential role in their ability to survive into the next century. The telephone and the automobile have been recognized as two of the most important tools for improving medical care during the past 100 years. People could more readily get medical care and the time to transmit medical information was greatly reduced through physician use of the telephone and automobile. The computer is a tool that can be used to help physicians manage the great amount of medical information being generated every day. The computer can also alert the physician of patient conditions that need attention. However, it is the physician who must use and apply the computer provided information. Thus, the computer will assist but not replace physicians in providing medical care.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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