HEME: A Self-Improving Computer Program for Diagnosis-Oriented Analysis of Hematologic Diseases
by B. J. Flehinger, R. L. Engle,Jr.
HEME, a computer program for diagnosis-oriented analysis of hematologic diseases, accepts as input information about a patient and provides as output an ordered list of suggested diagnoses, an analysis of the logic behind these diagnoses, and a list of tests relevant to these diagnoses and not yet performed. The decision algorithm is based on Bayes’ Theorem. Each disease in the system is individually analyzed, and the probability that the patient has the disease vs the probability that he does not is calculated. Bayesian methods of statistical inference are utilized in that the prior probabilities of the diseases and the probabilities of findings in given diseases were initially estimated from the judgment of experienced hematologists with the intention that they be modified automatically as data are accumulated. This program is intended for use in teaching hematology, as an aid to diagnosis, and as a means for studying the diagnostic process.