THE APPLICATION of computer technology to the storage and retrieval of medical records has been considerably slower than originally anticipated.1 Obstacles to such application may be grouped into four major areas: logical organization, clerical burden on the medical staff, communication, and cost. As well as describing our computer system, we will present the strategies we employed in handling these obstacles.
Logical Organization.—Efficient storage and retrieval of any information may be approached in two ways. One approach consists of completely defining and structuring the material to be stored. This has the advantage of allowing later retrieval of any information in the record. But it has all the disadvantages inherent in extreme structuring: tedious recording and coding of information, inflexible nature of the system, and the risk of losing information that is not coded in the system.
The other approach maintains all