Information overload

Index and Rapid Retrieval
Delegate and filter
Notebook then shelve
Focus on your wants

Internet access and computerisation has revolutionised all aspects of life and medical care is no exception. In the last ten years doctors have moved from a single paper folder of notes to highly organised databases that allow immediate recall of all medical problems, all medications and information on social support. A click of a mouse can take you to thousands of websites relating to a particular medical problem. Information overload is an ever present threat exacerbated by unsolicited mailings, phone calls and texts adding to a clamour for your attention.

Index and Rapid retrieval of  key information

For those things that you really need to recall for better patient care or similar reasons consider a structured framework for recording information. One that will allow you to retrieve previously read information immediately you need it using a keyword. A basic example of this is the LLAMA intranet. Local Linked Addresses Management and Advice. This is an index headings, topics and keywords that allows retrieval of key facts during a consultation. This can be applied to any professional group. For more information see “fact management”.   If you are interested in developing this concept further please contact me at “DocRick”

Delegate and filter

Do you really need to see all the information that reaches you? Is there anyone else who can filter it out or divert it. If you don’t need to see it how can you stop it reaching you. It may be an active block on mailings or diverting e mails to a spam box. Perhaps your spouse, who has different interests can throw things out before they reach you and entice you to read or act. Can someone at work chuck out the enticing irrelevances before they reach you. Do you need to see normal results or routine letters. Can someone else action things for you following a protocol. Can you just approve actions set up on your behalf?

Notebook then shelve

Useful comes round again. If you are still troubled by collecting too much information, perhaps believing it may be of use later then consider very briefly recording it in a single booklet and then ignoring it. You can retrieve it if you really need, and the act of writing it down effectively puts it aside so you can get onto the next thing.

If it is really important or useful it will come back to you again.

Focus on your wants

What are your real goals? Your personal focus for life. This is likely to include income and work but consider the wider picture of your life. Imagine you have this goal already. See if in your mind, feel it as you would feel. Is it still truly your goal? If it is still you goal then chose tasks and information that relates to this and discard or ignore the remainder