The Task Force for Creating a Biomedical Communications System for Dermatology was commissioned by the American Academy of Dermatology to develop an experimental segment of a computerized data bank on dermatologic therapy. The Task Force has completed such a “first generation” system and has named it DermRx. Its data bank carries the following information on each entry: the name of the disease; topical, systemic, physical, and other kinds of treatment; caveats; references to the literature; and the date and reviewer(s). The DermLit and DermRx programs are two components of a projected broader concept of an eventual comprehensive Biomedical Communications System for Dermatology. Such a system is envisaged as a means of making available to dermatologists diverse data relevant to practice, teaching, research, and business aspects of the specialty. At the moment, access to the stored information on dermatologic literature and therapy is by telephone call to, or by correspondence with, the central computer facility at Northwestern University. Eventually it is projected to be accessible by dedicated microcomputers housed in the physician's office. This preliminary report on DermRx is presented to review the progress of the project to date and to elicit comment upon its structure and value.
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