A system and method for providing computerized, knowledge-based medical diagnostic and treatment advice. The medical advice is provided to the general public over a telephone network. Two new authoring languages, interactive voice response and speech recognition are used to enable expert and general practitioner knowledge to be encoded for access by the public. "Meta" functions for time-density analysis of a number of factors regarding the number of medical complaints per unit of time are an integral part of the system. A semantic discrepancy evaluator routine along with a mental status examination are used to detect the consciousness level of a user of the system. A re-enter feature monitors the user's changing condition over time. A symptom severity analysis helps to respond to the changing conditions. System sensitivity factors may be changed at a global level or other levels to adjust the system advice as necessary.