Author + information
- Richard B. Shepard, MD, FACC*,α,
- Richard I. Blum, MD, FACC†,
- American College of Cardiology Computer Applications Committee‡
- ↵αAddress for reprints: Richard B. Shepard, MD, FACC, Division of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, The University of Alabama in Birmingham, University Station, Birmingham, Alabama 35294.
An office computer is a utility, like an automobile, with benefits and costs that are both direct and hidden and potential for disaster. For the cardiologist or cardiovascular surgeon, the increasing power and decreasing costs of computer hardware and the availability of software make use of an office computer system an increasingly attractive possibility. Management of office business functions is common; handling and scientific analysis of practice medical information are less common. The cardiologist can also access national medical information systems for literature searches and for interactive further education. Selection and testing of programs and the entire computer system before purchase of computer hardware will reduce the chances of disappointment or serious problems. Personnel pretraining and planning for office information flow and medical information security are necessary. Some cardiologists design their own office systems, buy hardware and software as needed, write programs for themselves and carry out the implementation themselves. For most cardiologists, the better course will be to take advantage of the professional experience of expert advisors. This article provides a starting point from which the practicing cardiologist can approach considering, specifying or implementing an office computer system for business functions and for scientific analysis of practice results.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation