Currently: Massachusetts General Hospital
Ed’s introduction to medical informatics came as a summer intern in the newly-established Laboratory of Computer Science at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1963, where a technological breakthrough was a sound-deadening cover for the teletypes to allow information to be printed at nursing units. After a stint as a scientific programmer for IBM and then Harvard Medical School, he did his residency and fellowship at the MGH. He remained part-time at the MGH-LCS after completion of training while also conducting a clinical career. His early contributions to medical informatics involved automating the MGH anticoagulant clinic and developing programs to interpret pulmonary function tests, both systems still in daily use.
His major contributions during the 1970’s and 1980’s involved the development of computer-based teaching systems for medical student and physician education. These programs were used on-line and were distributed by the Williams and Wilkins Company as the RxDx series. This was one of the first computer-based educational systems to be used nationally rather than strictly in-house.
Since 1985 he has been the lead content developer of DXplain, the MGH-developed expert system for diagnostic decision support, responsible for database development and maintenance.
Dr Hoffer has authored or co-authored three textbook chapters on computer-aided instruction in medicine as well as edited a textbook on emergency problems in the elderly. He has authored or co-authored seventeen papers in refereed journals and presented sixteen papers at national conferences, primarily SCAMC.