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Strategies for the use of computers in health care. Symposium on information technology as a tool in health care. Linkoping, 27-28 October 1987

Strategies for the use of computers in health care. Symposium on information technology as a tool in health care. Linkoping, 27-28 October 1987

Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 27(1): 95-100

The fact that I have used for this article the title proposed by the organizers of this conference does not mean that I agree with the philosophy which inspires it: a philosophy of means instead of a philosophy of finalities. Indeed, the use of computers in health care is not unavoidable simply because computers do exist. This is a mistake that has frequently been made since the beginning, and which is probably the source of most of our illusions and delusions. Computers are tools, and no more, and we must and can resist the 'instrumental reason' criticized in depth by philosophers such as R. Garaudy [1], M. Henry [2], E. Morin [3], and scientists like J. Weizenbaum [4]. I would prefer to reverse the question of how to use computers in health care and answer the following ones: What are the main information problems in medicine and health? and What is the part of computer technology in their solution? Connected to these questions is the consideration of the mental, intellectual, cultural, and even ethical impact of the machinery on its designers and users. With regard to the latter, I will mention the benefits of a better methodological education and the threat of an excessive rationalistic drift. This ethical consideration will lead me back to a brief discussion of 'instrumental reason'. This discussion will thus provide guidelines and caveats rather than true strategic recommendations. It will deal with attitudes more than with specific actions. Indeed, we cannot escape some kind of consideration of our humanity, and the mutual relationship between technology and our existence and actions.

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Accession: 041440827

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PMID: 3409689

DOI: 10.1016/0169-2607(88)90109-5

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