A microcomputer system for use in the sequential processing of specimens has been developed in a hospital microbiology department which receives 90 000 specimens a year. Data handling is performed directly through the computers without the use of cards or worksheets. The system facilitates the multistep processing of specimens and the servicing of results inquiries and provides an alphabetical daysheet of completed and incomplete work, report form printout, and automatic transfer of reported data to an existing on line database. The system includes on line break point antibiotic sensitivity testing and multipoint agar organism identification. The hardware was purchased as required at small cost per unit, and the software was written by the authors. More than 80% of specimens received are processed using the computers, the remainder being under development. The system has been running for three years without major breakdown.
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