Friday, November 16, 2007

Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom: "One of the challenges of being a doctor in the 21st century is information overload. More medical literature is published every year than a doctor can read in a lifetime. As electronic health records become more common, doctors can be overwhelmed with data gathered about each patient. Doctors do not want to review hundreds of normal findings, they want to know what is actionable for each of their patients to keep them healthy Healthcare CIOs should implement applications which filter data so that it becomes information, transform information into knowledge, and ulimately provide clinicians with wisdom based on that knowledge at the exact time they need it.

Here's an example. Suppose a patient's blood pressure is 100/50. That's data. Suppose that patient has a ten year history of blood pressures of 150/100. That's information. Suppose that the patient has a known history of coronary artery disease and is now experiencing chest pain. The sudden drop in blood pressure could indicate a serious myocardial infarction in progress. That's knowledge. It's time to give the patient an aspirin, oxygen, and nitrates immediately. That's wisdom."

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