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Techniques in automated data-handling for medical research and patient-care purposes are being investigated using a conversational timeshared computer system. This paper covers the initial design considerations, implementation experience, and user reaction with the prototype set of on-line, multiple-access, general-purpose information storage and retrieval programs. This system is designed to pemit hospital personnel (without the need for special assistance or any direct intervention by trained computer programmers) to define and establish private data files, to enter or change moderately large volumes of English text or coded data, and to retrieve and manipulate selected output information. Hospital staffs, from remote terminals, have been using this system on an operational basis for more than a year. The development and implementation of the system is being carried out by Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., and the Massachusetts General Hospital, under the support of the National Institutes of Health.