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Electronics and Health Care Revisited: Thirty-Eight Years Later.
The holy grail of modern medicine is the quest to achieve an all-inclusive lifelong health record. There has been long discussion as to what belongs in such a record. Advances in data storage devices have made such discussion irrelevant, The answer is to store everything. The more timely and difficult question is the efficient and specific retrieval of the needed information from the stored data. This leads to questions of indexing schemes at storage time or natural language processing at retrieval time. One must remember that the lifelong record is not made up of just text. It is a multimedia record containing pictures (X-rays, MRI, pathology), signals (EEC, EKG), sounds (heart, bowels), and videos (echo cardiogram, angiogram). Bulk storage may no longer be a problem, but efficient, specific retrieval of information certainly is a problem.