Computer-Assisted Laboratory Diagnosis and Its Clinical Usefulness
Clinical diagnosis based solely on the interpretation of laboratory tests without information regarding patient's morbid history and physical examination is now possible when properly selected tests are set in combination and carried out for the definite purposes of (1) appraisal of the patient's general condition, (2) assessment of hepatic, renal and pancreatic dysfunction, and (3) guessing the names of the patient's possible diseases. Interpretation of test results can now be carried out quickly and very efficiently by means of a computer. This is computer-assisted laboratory diagnosis or CALD. It was in 1970, 15 years ago, that the first primitive trial of such a system was carried out in Ube, Yamaguchi. Since then this system of CALD has evolved to the level that its use has become a part of daily routine in the Departments of Clinical Pathology of Kawasaki Medical School, Kurashiki, and Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, Ube. It was described to the members of the Korean Society of Clinical Pathologists in their general meeting held in Taegu in 1985. Recently a team in the Department of Clinical Pathology of Tokai University Medical School in Isehara, Kanagawa Prefecture, was successful in developing another type of CALD. In the United States although trials of CALD were started in the 1970's, development has not been so rapid. At present, only a few laboratories are employing CALD. Aspects of CALD development in Japan and the USA will be described very briefly in the latter part of this article.