The CAREPLAN knowledge base. A prototype expert system for postpartum nursing care.
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With the growth of scientific knowledge in the health care disciplines, it has become increasingly difficult for practicing health care professionals to store and manipulate the information required to make clinical decisions. Where the decision making process can be defined and validated, expert systems will be able to assist beginning professionals to learn appropriate patterns of decision making. This article discusses the rationale for utilization of expert systems in a nursing environment. A prototype expert system called CAREPLAN, developed for use in an obstetrical environment, was built using Personal Consultant Plus, a software tool based on the LISP language. The project demonstrates that it is feasible to develop and validate an expert system for a specialized clinical environment in a relatively short period of time in comparison to traditional development methods. Graphics were used to enhance textual information and to increase user appeal. Strategies for future implementation and evaluation are outlined.
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