This paper hypothesizes that computer technology has not yet been widely applied in health care delivery even though it could favorably influence the cost, accessibility, and quality of health care. It summarizes the current status of computer applications in physiological monitoring, diagnostic aids, medical record data systems, clinical laboratory automation systems, multiphasic screening systems and hospital information systems; reviews current research on automated aids for clinical decisionmaking; and summarizes critiques dealing with attempts to use computers in health care. It concludes by outlining some important areas of research that might facilitate the rate and extent to which computer technology will be applied in health care. They deal with economic issues (evidence of cost-effectiveness; large facility and equipment investments; issues posed by regional computer systems); public policy issues (information privacy, security and integrity; standards for health care information systems) and technologic issues (medical databases; automated aids for medical decisionmaking). (Written for a proposal to the Bureau of Health Resources Development, DHEW.) 53 pp. Ref.
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