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Pages Past

In this section, we highlight tidbits from past issues of the magazine. These messages from yesteryear remind us of the pace of change, as well as of some timeless truths.

From the Spring 1986 issue

Almost 20 years ago, Dr. J. Robert Beck, an assistant professor of pathology at DMS, explained the growing importance of computer technology in medicine. Citing a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges' Project on the General Professional Education of the Physician (GPEP), he wrote: "The GPEP panel agreed with several current theorists of medical education who claim that the physician of the 21st century will need to be an effective manager of clinical information, able to retrieve data from both clinical and literary sources and to apply such information to the care of individual patients. He or she will also have to be familiar with both statistical and empirical approaches to diagnosis and therapy.

The physician will need to be an information manager. Formal training in the information and computer sciences, as they are applied to medicine, will need to be integrated into the general medical education. This need has been

During 1985-86, officials from 43 medical schools came to see how DMS used computers in its curriculum.

recognized at a time when very few U.S. medical schools have an academic program in medical information or computer science. Those that exist are in their formative stages."

But DMS was ahead of the trend. "The Medical School established the Program in Medical Information Science under my direction in July 1984," Beck continued.

"The program was charged with the integration of computer and information technology throughout the medical curriculum. . . . The formal establishment of the program actually consolidated efforts in medical information science that began at DMS in 1982, when the Medical School submitted an application to the National Fund for Medical Education to support the development of a fourth-year course for medical students entitled 'Computers and Medical Decision-Making.' This elective was designed to teach medical students how to use microcomputers. After the successful establishment of that elective, my colleagues and I turned toward integrating computer technology more broadly into the academic and research programs at the School. Thus DMS had undertaken two years of strategic planning and pilot course development for medical information science curriculum before the recommendations of GPEP were published."

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