Information overload during the current COVID-19 pandemic has caused an “infodemic” in which false news,
conspiracy theories, magical cures and racist news are being shared at an alarming rate, with the potential to
increase anxiety and stress and even lead to loss of life. This review highlights some of these challenges and
suggests general measures to avoid information overload and infodemic in the connected world of 21st century.
Task errors by emergency physicians are associated with interruptions, multitasking, fatigue and working memory capacity: a prospective, direct observation study
Interruptions, multitasking and poor sleep were associated with significantly increased rates of prescribing errors among emergency physicians. WMC mitigated the negative influence of these factors to an extent. These results confirm experimental findings in other fields and raise questions about the acceptability of the high rates of multitasking and interruption in clinical environments.
Since the 1970s, the term “information overload” has captured society’s anxiety about the growth in the production of information having potentially bad consequences for people as they struggle to cope with seemingly constant streams of messages and images. The advent of the internet, it was thought, would only exacerbate this, with the onset of ubiquitous connectivity turning information overload into something even more debilitating.
For the first time, information retrieval is possible with the help of EEG interpreted with machine learning.
In a study conducted by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) and the Centre of Excellence in Computational Inference (COIN), laboratory test subjects read the introductions of Wikipedia articles of their own choice. During the reading session, the test subjects’ EEG was recorded, and the readings were then used to model which key words the subjects found interesting.
2016 is on pace to be another record year for new cancer articles in the literature — 143,034 at the time of this writing. That’s 630 articles every weekday. And that’s just the medical journal articles. Add to that the thousands of annually produced abstracts presented at oncology meetings, FDA releases, guidelines changes, and all the rest and you have a true information blizzard for practicing oncologists to weather.
While much of the world today suffers from information overload, there are still places where information is scarce. And that scarcity sometimes costs people their lives.
In the maternity ward of Zanzibar’s largest public health facility, Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, patient data is listed on a dry-erase board. The information on the board consists of the number of women admitted, the type and severity of their conditions, and whether or not they survived.
You know the saying about having too much of a good thing? I think that’s me, right now, as I think about starting infusions of the multiple sclerosis drug Lemtrada on Dec. 5.
Lemtrada is supposed to be a super drug. As I wrote in an earlier column, my neurologist calls it “stem cell lite.” Some wheelchair-bound MS patients have been able to take some steps after completing a course of Lemtrada. Others report similar improvements in other symptoms.
The digital world has put us decidedly in the information age. Physicians are no longer the gatekeepers of health information as patients are able to Google and Bing and Yahoo and more. But I agree with Mitchell Kapor. “Getting information off the internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant,” he said.
Before they see a doctor, most patients turn to websites and smartphone apps.
Caution is advised. Research shows they aren’t very good.
A few years ago, doctors from the Mayo Clinic tested the wisdom of online health advice. Their conclusion: It’s risky. According to their study, going online for health advice is more likely to result in getting no advice or incomplete advice than the right advice.
The doctors assessed the quality of advice on the top sites returned from Google, Yahoo and Bing for searches on common health complaints — like “chest pain” or “headache.”
I thought I was about to start exploring the genomics of my Gleason 6 prostate cancer, which was diagnosed in late 2010.
But then I ran into a couple setbacks.
First off, my new urologist, Brian Helfand, MD, PhD, asked me to obtain the slides from my biopsy.
Easier said than done.
I called the office of my first urologist, the one who wanted to rush me into a prostatectomy. I was informed that the office had no record of my ever having been seen there for prostate cancer.