Information in practice

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7055.438 (Published 24 August 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:438
  1. Alison Tonks, Assistant editor,
  2. Richard Smith, Editor
  1. BMJ, London WC1H 9JR

    Make it work for patients

    Information drives the practice of medicine. Doctors must use it every time they see a patient, perform a procedure, or consult a colleague; hospitals spend 15% of their budget managing it; and doctors and nurses spend a quarter of their time finding, sorting, and using it.1 There is, of course, no shortage of information out there. The real challenge is improving the supply lines that take it in a usable form to the bedside, the surgery, the purchaser, or the teaching session. Doctors are often unaware of important developments that will benefit their patients,2 and most consultations give rise to questions that can be answered but usually are not.3 The rapid developments in computing mean that the world is now entering a new information age. That technology could—if used correctly—transform medicine.

    Despite its obvious importance, the …

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