- When you start the car, you get the messages like "time to service your car" or "hey! check your engine".
- When you are driving, you get speed, fuel status, turn signal indicators, bright light indicators, etc.
- You don't have to navigate somewhere else for additional information to do the task of driving.
- You don't get unnecessary information that is not actionable during the act of driving.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin recently published a conceptual article on Information Chaos titled "Information Chaos in Primary Care: Implications for Physician Performance and Patient Safety" (J Am Board Fam Med, .
I had never heard the concept of "Information Scatter" articulated before, but it resonated strongly with my experience as a family physician using a variety of EMRs over the past decade.
I recently did a post on using Information Dashboards. Think of a dashboard serving the same purpose as the dashboard in your car. It gives you the critical information you need for the task at hand.
Dashboards are well suited to reducing information scatter, and they help manage information overload when skillfully designed. A key feature that is often overlooked is to pare away all unnecessary data elements (removing words that don't add value). For example, "lisinopril 10 mg daily", and not "lisinopril 10 mg 1 tablet oral daily".
I've been noticing Information Scatter in my daily work in clinic. I now have some new vocabulary to use when asking for improvements from my EMR vendor, or when sympathizing with colleagues.