Memory Based Health Care to Information Based Health Care

The incomparable Vince Kuraitis sent out a tweet a while back that I think is worth highlighting. It was actually a retweet of @Cerner_Network who seems to be quoting L Kolkman, Mosaica Partners, so I’ll give credit where credit is due. Here’s the core of what the tweet said:

From Memory Based Care to Information Based Care

I also love that the tweet included the hashtag #freethedata.

Vince has been a long proponent of the idea of freeing the data. Although, I think the idea of moving from memory based care to information based care is a much bigger deal than just freeing the data. Sure, freeing the data will be an important part of being able to provide information based care. In fact, it’s really quite necessary to provide proper health care.

The thing about this transition is that whether healthcare data is “free” and interoperable doesn’t really deny the fact that doctors are being inundated with more and more data every day.

Back in May of 2009 I wrote this post titled, “Body of Medical Knowledge Too Complex for the Human Mind.” If this was true in 2009, imagine how much worse it is today.

Even if we don’t take into account the wave of information that is and will be coming from those apps, devices, and quantified self-ers (which I assure you is coming. Even if we don’t consider all the data that doctors will be able to get from various HIE sources (which is also coming). Just within a physician’s own EHR software and the body of medical knowledge that’s being published each and every day, the physician’s memory is at its limit.

This isn’t a knock on doctors by any means. I was stunned when my wife went to her OB/GYN after not seeing her for a few years she was able to recount the most important salient points of my wife’s child birth history. This was all without the chart (which they’d filed away in permanent storage for some reason and didn’t have it available for the appointment).

Yep, many physicians are extraordinary people with extraordinary memories, but we all have our limits. Computers have their limits as well. We’ll never be without doctors and that’s a good thing. However, we’re slowly seeing the move to where a doctor really can’t be the best doctor without some technical assistance dealing with the overload of information. I think that’s a good thing.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.