Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What to Believe in Todays Information Tsunami

It is a confusing world we live in and making choices is becoming increasingly difficult
Today is a great example of the conflicting nature of information available for our own personal healthcare

Half of overweight adults may be heart-healthy, which includes statements such as
The first national estimate of its kind bolsters the argument that you can be hefty but still healthy, or at least healthier than has been believed.
and Obese people not always unhealthy
... 1/4 of people who were a healthy weight actually had health problems such as high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol and high levels of bad fats in the blood.

....over half of overweight adults and almost a third of obese adults did not have these problems.
Versus the long standing advice you can see here, and here, and here
and published articles such as this one published yesterday: Measures of Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk Among Men and Women from the American College of Cardiology that concludes:
This study adds to extensive prior findings, which associate adiposity, in particular abdominal adiposity, with increased risk for CVD
On the same day as news feeds such as CBS and the Times included Why elderly joggers just keep on running.The conclusions included:
California Couch potatoes might not like to hear it, but running regularly has long-term health benefits that last well into old age, according to a study.

Elderly joggers remained fit and active for longer than non-runners and were half as likely to die early, scientists at the University of California at Stanford found. They were also less likely to succumb to age-related illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders.
It's a complex world and making sense of all of this "information" is a significant challenge for everyone, users, patients and professionals alike. The key to helping sort through this data is providing ready access to latest validated research and pushing this data into the consciousness of the users and clinical professionals. Pushing means we need to comprehend the clinical findings, signs, symptoms and tie them back to our clinical databases. This will link the knowledge and information in these clinical databases and push out supporting information to the decision makers which includes the clinical professionals as well as patients themselves. Capturing clinical information as data is one of the first steps in this process - entering it as items on digital forms is one way but that process can be laborious and time consuming so providing alternatives that match current processes is helpful. Dictation of clinical documentation is a prime example that needs to update the way it captures this data and how we achieve this should reflect this growing need for data not text.

As we think about the future of documentation, the data content locked in our traditional documents must be set free to help our healthcare providers and patients start to make sense of the conflicting information feeding in to our clinical decision making

Oh..... and for what it's worth; exercise good and obesity bad.

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