Properly patient, the computer can provide valuable information about his changing condition, several medical centers have found.
At Northwestern University, recent investigations indicate the patient simultaneously can provide data of value to medicine in general, via the computer.
Following major abdominal and thoracic surgery, the respiratory mechanics of more than 60 patients have been monitored in a project headed by F. John Lewis, MD, professor of surgery.
"The surgeon evaluates the respiration of his postoperative patients with the classical art of physical examination..." he told the American Surgical Association. "He may do very well, but he is not always at the patient's side and even if he is present, his skills are inconstant."
Also, many established postoperative practices are based on clinical impression—not recorded data.
The first of these accepted procedures to be challenged was that of asking the patient to cough to help increase respiratory efficiency.
Among 14 patients