The initial accident and emergency and final in-patient diagnoses of 200 patients with acute abdominal pain made without computer aid or structured data sheet were compared. Sixty-five per cent were correctly diagnosed and 5% had normal laparotomies. These results compare favourably with those obtained using computer aid and structured history-taking forms. It is suggested that the spotlight should be on the training and experience of doctors making the initial diagnosis rather than on computer aid.
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