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Personal Physician

Ingrid Kohlstadt, MD; Andrew L. Dannenberg, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1994;271(22):1808. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510460102050.
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The goal of Personal Physician is to help adults better understand their medical concerns. It aims to simulate a health care professional who takes a patient history and provides recommendations. The software serves as a source of medical information "on call 24 hours a day... in the privacy of your own home."

In this simple, menu-driven program, the user first chooses from among 11 common complaints, 12 types of discomfort and pain, and five categories of health maintenance. After selecting the concern of interest, a series of yes/no questions guides the user through a decision tree and usually ends with a diagnosis, treatment recommendation, or course of action.

Personal Physician is easily accessible for reference. It can therefore provide reassurance and advice when a health professional may not be readily available. For potentially embarrassing medical complaints, such as male sexual dysfunction, the privacy offered by the program may be especially


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Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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