In 2011, an article in The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine commented that “information chaos” is routinely experienced by primary care physcians, and that this is “not just inconvenient, annoying and frustrating [but] it also has implications for physician performance and safety”. Much of the article remains relevant in today’s world.
Five primary factors were identified. Information scatter, overload, underload, conflict, and error. The following graphic from the paper containing a fictious progress note is extremely helpful in understanding the concepts.
The five categories can be defined as follows:
- Information overload occurs when there is simply too much data to “organize, synthesize, and draw conclusions from, or act on”. This is made worse by EMRs where even more data is available. A subset of overload is duplication where a record contains massive amounts of redundancy.
- Information underload occurs when there is insufficient data. It’s a common problem…
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