How does a Major League batter, no matter how athletically gifted, teach his body to hit a sphere just nine inches in circumference traveling at an initial velocity of over 95 miles per hour? And how does he learn to make a decision to swing in a short 400 milliseconds, a time frame slightly longer than the blink of an eye?
Clinical decisions made by physicians mimic, in many ways, the processes batters use to hit a baseball. Everyday clinical care requires a high level of pattern recognition. Physicians use a patient’s history, physical exam, and current diagnosis, combined with laboratory values and other tests, to deter-mine the final diagnoses that paint a patient’s condition.
The advent of healthcare information technology, particularly electronic medical records (EMR), dramatically increased the amount of patient data presented to physicians. Yet, rather than focus on patient care, EMRs were originally designed to drive billing. A patient’s EMR “chart” includes a large amount of data that provides little if any value to clinicians delivering care. In addition, the use of “copy and paste” functions bloats electronic records to such a degree that useful patient data often becomes lost in a sea of irrelevant or duplicative information.