In late 1977 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began a new activity to bring to the practitioner, the government, and the general public valid information on medical procedures and therapies that are new or in question.
The activity is known as consensus development. It involves bringing together groups of experts to assess specific diagnostic and treatment approaches. The process usually culminates with a consensus development conference, at which an effort is made to determine the safety and efficacy of selected procedures and treatments. During the past year, 13 conferences and ten workshops and planning meetings were held.
Four workshops on "The Use of Microprocessor-based 'Intelligent' Machines in Patient Care" were held in 1978 as preparation for a definitive consensus conference in April 1979. At that time experts will evaluate devices capable of making medical judgments independent of continuous supervision by a physician.
Planning meetings held during 1978 included "The