“The Automatic Digital Computer as an Aid in Medical Diagnosis” (1959, Crumb and Rupe) is an interesting example of hope versus reality. Computers will turn medicine into a science and they’ll also save money.
The authors predicted that computers in medicine would “contribute to the good of mankind”:
What do we have, 60+ years later? Epic, whose primary function is making sure that the providers get paid!
Were these authors the pioneers? No! The references include a 1956 punched card-based diagnosis system for diseases of the cornea (TIME).
The comments on the article are interesting. Then, as now, we don’t know if computers are useful in medicine because we don’t know how often human doctors are correct: