Research Article

Use of computer program for diagnosing jaundice in district hospitals and specialized liver unit.

Br Med J 1975; 2 doi: (Published 21 June 1975) Cite this as: Br Med J 1975;2:659
  1. R B Stern,
  2. R P Knill-Jones,
  3. R Williams


    A computer-assisted model for diagnosing jaundice has been adapted for use on the University of London C.D.C. 7600 computer via an on-line terminal at King's College Hospital to provide a rapid turn-round time. The model was used prospectively in the diagnosis of 219 patients--135 seen in a specialized liver unit and 84 seen in one of four district hospitals in south-east London--with an overall accuracy in distinguishing among 11 different causes of jaundice of 69% and 62% respectively. These figures rose to 77% and 88% respectively when only those patients in whom the final diagnosis reached a "certain" probability were considered. When used to distinguish between a medical and a surgical cause of jaundice the accuracy was 86% in the liver unit and 77% in the district hospitals, rising to 95% in both series for those with a diagnosis of certain probability. The proposed improvements to the model--namely, the use of two deparate data bases and more diagnoses within the matrix--should be improve the accuracy even further. In practice the rapid feedback to the clinicians looking after patients provided help in managing difficult cases.