Computer Aids in the Physician's Office

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Computer Aids in the Physician's Office (CAPO) is an electronic medical record system aimed at practicing office physician. The previous BBN-MGH system, Hospital Computer Project, was for a large teaching hospital.

A survey of physician practices shows that quality improvement depends heavily on physicians’ use of the EMR—and not paper—for most of their daily tasks. This is due to the fact that the electronic medical record (EMR) is an enabling technology that allows physician practices to pursue more powerful quality improvement programs than is possible with paper-based records. Research has demonstrated the quality benefits of electronic documentation and viewing, prescription and test ordering, care management reminders, and messaging, among other EMR functions.


In 1971, Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) initiated a new project, Computer Aids in the Physician's Office (CAPO).


The basic components include Appointment scheduling - Billing - Cumulative patient profiles(A-B-C). The concept included patient-history application which had online questionnaire's text and branching structure to the patients which translated to format of physicians medical summary of the answers. Of all the modules, automated patient-history taking was important and key feature.

Bold text== Reception and Implementation ==

The original CAPO was not widely accepted as-is, as most physicians wanted some changes to the history format. So some minor changes were made and physicians' were satisfied with customizations made. Thus it was more individually customized.

It was not widely used for the cost of implementation was too high for most private physicians.

According to Thompson, D.L., Osheroff, J., Classen, D. & Sittig, D.F. "proponents of electronic medical record systems cite numerous benefits of their use; however, prospective electronic medical record (EMR) purchasers can find relatively little hard evidence these systems will deliver promised or expected benefits. The pact of good information to help identify EMR benefits, estimate and prioritize these benefits, and understand how the benefits are realized is a serious problem for the healthcare industry.""Bold text


  1. Medical Application of Computers at BBN by Paul Castleman
  2. THE HUMAN SIDE OF THE A-B-C OF CAPO by Jan F. Brandeis, Ph.D.

Health Affairs March 2004 vol. 23 no. 2 116-126

Thompson, D.L., Osheroff, J., Classen, D. & Sittig, D.F. A Review of Methods to Estimate the Benefits of Electronic Medical Records in Hospital and the Need for a National Benefits Database. Journal of Healthcare Information Management, Vol. 21, N0. 1 (PP. 62)Bold text