Stanley J. Reiser, MD, PhD
In the early twentieth century, a new form of medical evidence came to the forefront. While nineteenth century clinicians were using simple instruments to extend their senses and become skillful in physical diagnosis, investigators were developing methods of analysis that represented medical evidence numerically. In the twentieth century, numerical data gathered from such sources as laboratory reports, blood pressure readings, and temperature charts began to fill the pages of clinical records.
At this time, it was unusual for either hospitals or physicians to keep reliable and detailed clinical records. In a 1917 commentary on the state of hospital records, John
Reiser SJ. The Clinical Record in Medicine Part 2: Reforming Content and Purpose1. Ann Intern Med. ;114:980–985. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-114-11-980
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1991;114(11):980-985.
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