Biomedical and Health Informatics Profile

Morris Collen


Drs. Cecil Cutting, Robert Pearl (standing), David Niver, and Morris Collen at the 2007 Cecil Cutting Leadership Award Reception

(Source: Kaiser Permanente)

Hired by Kaiser Shipyards during WWII to see to worker’s health, Dr. Collen never left; first as a founding doctor of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, then as founding director  of Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Medical Methods Research.  An early champion of preventative health care, Morris pioneered the use of computers in multi-phasic health checkups, and maintaining patient data electronically.  He is also credited with providing the first medical venue where psychotherapy was integrated into patient primary care.   Dr. Collen is still inventing new uses for computers in medicine --  currently he’s researching ways for computer analysis to discover potential drug interactions in elderly patients (who, as Dr. Collen says, take many drugs for many ailments.)

(Sources: Kaiser Permanente, LA Times)

“The computer cannot replace the physician, but it can keep essential data moving smoothly from laboratory to nurses’ station, from X-ray department to the patient’s chart, and from all areas of the medical center to the physician himself.” - Dr. Collen, 1968.  Picture  from the cover of “Modern Medicine” magazine, 1968.

(Source: Kaiser Permanente)

"I keep saying to all the young people, you just have to live long enough and you will see wonderful things happen."

    - Dr. Morris Collen, 2008, quoted in  Kaiser Permanente  Biography

Title page of the 1977 survey of computer systems for hospitals

(Source: Rutgers University Library)

Cover from Dr. Collen’s 1978 Report.

(Source: Rutgers University Library)