Skip Navigation Bar
New Frontiers in Health Communication: Sesquicentennial banner
New Frontiers in Health Communication: Sesquicentennial 1836-1986 home page Introduction page National Library of Medicine: New Frontiers in Health Communication page National Library of Medicine: The World's Link to Health page Medline: Medical Information When Minutes Count page The Toxicology Information Program: Making the World Safer page Research and Development: New Frontiers in Information Science page Medical Education in the Year 2000 page Extramural Programs: Investing in Knowledge page Future: Information Systems Pace Breakthroughs in Medicine page Regional Medical Library Network: Building a Nationwide Base page

Medical Education in the Year 2000

In the future, medical students will have seen, diagnosed, and treated a wide array of patients before they ever actually see a real one. The Lister Hill Center has already developed a "computer patient" complete with a variety of symptoms and a full life history.

Based on microcomputer, videodisc, and voice recognition technology, the system allows the patient to be "seen" and to describe his own symptoms. With the student's voice command, the patient's medical history can be delved into and medical tests ordered and the results displayed.

Afterward, the computer evaluates the student's performance. Were the right tests ordered? Did the student draw the correct conclusions and make a valid diagnosis? Did the patient survive?

An x-ray of the chest cavity of a patient with an area outline in a box. At the bottom of the xray is the question Is area within the box normal? Y/N.

Part of present-day medical education consists of observing and making diagnoses based on tests and x-rays of actual patients. A videodisc education program shows the student what to look for and provides immediate feedback on the accuracy of the student's responses.

Image of a CD-Rom (Compact Disc Read-Only Memory).

Medical education in the future will use a combination of computers and audio and video disks to simulate patients and their histories.

'To Childhood Illness,' by Ben Shahn. A sick child looks wistfully from under the bed covers.

"To Childhood Illness," by Ben Shahn. Ben Shahn (1898-1969) was a painter, printmaker and illustrator whose work shows an interest in social and political issues. This piece is an example of the spare, linear style that is present in his work.