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JAMA 1997


Reproduced from JAMA, 277:1085
“Anyone who has never used a good artificial intelligence program would do well to start at the top with GIDEON. Global Infectious Diseases and Epidemiology Network is a superb example of artificial intelligence applied to medicine. Given modern air transportation, the most ordinary of patients now can be recently returned from the most extraordinary of places, exposed to infectious disease one has not even heard of, much less is knowledgeable about. What infectious diseases are relevant to a fly fisherman returning febrile from the Chilean Andes or to a Coca Cola salesman returning with a nonhealing skin ulcer from Siberia? Problems once in the domain only of university specialists now are seen in the offices of medical practitioners throughout the country.”

“GIDEON is designed to diagnose all the world’s infectious diseases (over 300) from over 200 countries, based on the symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings that you enter for your patient. That is the essence of what it does, with remarkable ease of use, obscuring the fact that such diagnosis is a frighteningly complex task, involving data on conditions totally unfamiliar to most physicians outside the involved countries. The program screens are successfully intuitive for straightforward clinical application, and the accompanying manual is quite clearly written.”

“Beyond this basic function is an extraordinary array of secondary information. The Epidemiology Module provides clinical information about each of the world’s infectious diseases, the distribution of those diseases, and vector and reservoir information for them. The Therapy Module provides detailed information about choices in drug therapy, including susceptibility, toxicity, and drug interaction data, not only on familiar antimicrobials, but on ones rarely used. A list with synonyms is included of all commercially available antimicrobials worldwide. Vaccine and immune globulin information is similarly available. For purposes of identification, the Microbiology Module provides full laboratory characteristics, including biochemical test results and cultural characteristics, for almost 900 organisms.”

“Put plainly, GIDEON is an intellectual tour de force that operates in the simplest of fashions. Since its initial favorable review in this journal 3 years ago, it has grown in depth and usefulness.”

“GIDEON is a fine product. Further information is available at the Website. Use the Search function of Edit to find GIDEON. The text of the GIDEON website is as lucid as the text of the program itself”