Memory Based Health Care to Information Based Health Care

Posted on April 19, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The incomparable Vince Kuraitis sent out a tweet a while back that I think is worth highlighting. It was actually a retweet of @Cerner_Network who seems to be quoting L Kolkman, Mosaica Partners, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. Here’s the core of what the tweet said:

From Memory Based Care to Information Based Care

I also love that the tweet included the hashtag #freethedata.

Vince has been a long proponent of the idea of freeing the data. Although, I think the idea of moving from memory based care to information based care is a much bigger deal than just freeing the data. Sure, freeing the data will be an important part of being able to provide information based care. In fact, it’s really quite necessary to provide proper health care.

The thing about this transition is that whether healthcare data is “free” and interoperable doesn’t really deny the fact that doctors are being inundated with more and more data every day.

Back in May of 2009 I wrote this post titled, “Body of Medical Knowledge Too Complex for the Human Mind.” If this was true in 2009, imagine how much worse it is today.

Even if we don’t take into account the wave of information that is and will be coming from those apps, devices, and quantified self-ers (which I assure you is coming. Even if we don’t consider all the data that doctors will be able to get from various HIE sources (which is also coming). Just within a physician’s own EHR software and the body of medical knowledge that’s being published each and every day, the physician’s memory is at its limit.

This isn’t a knock on doctors by any means. I was stunned when my wife went to her OB/GYN after not seeing her for a few years she was able to recount the most important salient points of my wife’s child birth history. This was all without the chart (which they’d filed away in permanent storage for some reason and didn’t have it available for the appointment).

Yep, many physicians are extraordinary people with extraordinary memories, but we all have our limits. Computers have their limits as well. We’ll never be without doctors and that’s a good thing. However, we’re slowly seeing the move to where a doctor really can’t be the best doctor without some technical assistance dealing with the overload of information. I think that’s a good thing.