ArticlesScientific Research and Medicine

Microelectronics and computers in medicine

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Science  12 Feb 1982:
Vol. 215, Issue 4534, pp. 792-797
DOI: 10.1126/science.7036345


Microelectronics and computers are in use in virtually every aspect of modern medicine. Computers are used widely in medical research, where an important need is for better microelectronic sensors for data acquisition. In medical practice, data collection from patients as well as subsequent storage, retrieval, and manipulation of data are enhanced by the computer. In medical decision-making computers improve accuracy, increase cost-efficiency, and advance understanding of the structure of medical knowledge and of the decision-making process itself. Powerful new noninvasive diagnostic instruments including x-ray tomographic scanners and ultrasonic imaging systems are based on computers. The efficiency and scope of clinical laboratory procedures and advanced analytical instruments are greatly increased by computerization, and careful application of computers has improved the interpretation of diagnostic tests, such as the electrocardiogram, and monitoring of critically ill patients. The powerful sensory, computational, memory, and display capabilities of microcomputer systems and their compact size offer new opportunities to relieve functional deficiencies associated with loss of limbs, paralysis, speech impediments, deafness, and blindness.