This paper explores aspects of the need for clinical database management systems that permit ongoing service management, measurement of the quality and appropriateness of care, databased administration of consultation-liaison (C-L) services, teaching/educational observations, and research. It describes an OPTICAL SCAN databased management system that permits flexible form generation, desktop publishing, and linking of observations in multiple files. This enhanced MICRO-CARES software system-Medical Application Platform (MAP)-permits direct transfer of the data to ASCII and SAS formal for mainframe manipulation of the clinical information. The director of a C-L service may now develop his or her own forms, incorporate structured instruments, or develop "branch chains" of essential data to add to the core data set without the effort and expense to reprint forms or consult with commercial vendors. © 1993.
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