Choice

Data, data, data. Give me peace and knowledge

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7162.0 (Published 26 September 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:0

There is a picture on p 862 that stuck in my mind the moment I first saw it some six months ago. It shows two people with a pile of 855 guidelines collected in general practices in the Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Authority. The pile is two feet high and tottering. Here is the result of medicine's attempt to use guidelines to improve practice. “The mass of paper we collected,” conclude the authors of the study, “represents a large amount of information, but it is in an unmanageable form …

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