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Title Computer-based Consultations in Clinical Therapeutics: Explanation and Rule Acquisition Capabilities of the MYCIN System.
Author(s) Edward H. Shortliffe, Randall Davis, Stanton G. Axline, Brice G. Buchanan, C. Cordell Green, and Stanley N. Cohen
Source Computers and Biomedical Research, Vol. 8, Pages 303-320
Publication Date 1975
Abstract This report describes progress in the development of an interactive computer program, termed MYCIN, that uses the clinical decision criteria of experts to advise physicians who request advice regarding selection of appropriate antimicrobial therapy for hospital patients with bacterial infections. Since patients with infectious diseases often require therapy before complete information about the organism becomes available, infectious disease experts have identified clinical and historical criteria that aid in the early selection of antimicrobial therapy. MYCIN gives advice in this area by means of three subprograms: (1) A Consultation System that uses information provided by the physician, together with its own knowledge base, to choose an appropriate drug or combination of drugs; (2) An Explanation System that understands simple English questions and answers them in order to justify its decisions or instruct the user; and (3) A Rule Acquisition System that acquires decision criteria during interactions with an expert and codes them for use during future consultation systems. A variety of human engineering capabilities have been included to heighten the program's acceptability to the physicians who will use it. Early experience indicates that a sample knowledge base of 200 decision criteria can be used by MYCIN to give appropriate advice for many patients with bacteremia. The system will be made available for evaluaton in the clinical setting after its reliability has been shown to approach that of infectious disease experts.

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