Too much information?

In trouble

Depositphotos 10732125 xs (2)Information overload—it has been the topic of a number of pieces that I have read recently and I am quite certain that only scratches the surface of what has been published on this topic of late. In our society today, we just can’t seem to get enough information, meanwhile there is so much information out there we couldn’t take it all in if we tried. We worry that we might miss something important, so too many of us sleep with our iPhones on our nightstand or miss what our kids are saying about their day at the dinner table because we are reading an email.

I recall hearing last year when we were exhibiting at the National Rural Health Conference that today’s physicians are challenged by too much information as well. While physicians of generations past could stay on the cutting edge of new studies and journals by taking in one article or study per night, today’s physicians would find themselves 400 years behind at the end of one year by reading just one piece per night.

So the ongoing anxiety our society has of missing something has got to change. You have got to be ok with missing something because realistically there is no way humanly possible to absorb all this information not to mention that we collectively can’t see the forest for the trees. That has been the crux of so many writings lately. That is certainly one approach. But why not, at least in the context of internal communications at your own hospital, try to “have your cake and eat it too”?

Few would debate that in healthcare, certain critical information has got to be read and understood—lives are at stake every second of every day. So the question becomes how to call attention to that information that is imperative to absorb. The complex need to do this has led to HospitalPORTAL’s development of a variety of notification mechanisms to call staff’s attention to personalized information that matters to them—no fluff, just the facts and the facts that they need.

Notifications and news feeds can be triggered by a number of different items—request for Read Acknowledgement of a policy or procedure I am responsible for, a new blog post by a colleague I am following, a reminder about a class I registered for, or an update when a co-worker comments in response to a comment I posted on a news item for example. This approach leaves staff frees to peruse other content throughout the intranet at their leisure but proactively calls their attention to the “must see” information that matters to them.

With the technology we have available today, there are so many ways to be sure not to miss anything that really matters to us. And as for other information that we haven’t set up in our figurative or literal feeds, the old saying comes to mind: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

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