In this brief paper, the authors describe the construction of UNIX files as a system for representing patient clinical data. They also discuss the appropriateness of a high-level language (C) in combination with a flexible file structure for computerizing medical records. A case is made for the importance of standardization and portability of medical records, but the paper does not discuss how the PORTA system achieves these. The extensive work of others to develop standards for medical information is not covered, nor is the major barrier to portability acceptance by the medical community. The way in which medical personnel would interact with PORTA to edit, access, or abstract the files and generate reports is also not covered.