Information Overload: TMI

Almost two months passed between my post last week and the last one before that. The combination of family illnesses followed by vacation and recovery from travel put me in a position of being so far behind in the reading I usually do that I could not possibly catch up. My personal inclination was to duck my head and try to ignore the overwhelming sea of information.

I found myself strongly empathizing with practitioners, administrators, and behavioral health care personnel of all stripes who spend their days trying to provide quality mental health services to their patients…and then spend their nights worrying about what has occurred that day that might get in the way of or assist them in doing their job, but not having the time or the energy to pursue that information. Certainly, the information is readily available on the Internet, but who has time.

There have been numerous discussions of the effects of too much information (TMI) on our functioning. In July, 2008 Nicholas Carr wrote an article in The Atlantic called Is Google Making Us Stupid? This year he has written a book length exposition of that subject called The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brain. His thesis is that our brains are literally being changed by the way the Internet is organized. He posits that jumping from one place to another by way of hyperlinks results in shallow pursuit of topics rather than the in-depth exploration of a subject allowed by books. In my brief exploration about his book, I found an extremely articulate review and commentary by Venkatesh Rao who mentioned and hyperlinked to the blog of Jason Kottke, a writer whose name I had heard but had never read. I have demonstrated for you an example of Carr’s thesis. I got distracted from obtaining support for my original thought by the way the Internet presents information and by the ease of pursuing that linked information.

Back to my original thought…here I am adding one more place where there is a bit more information for you to take a look at…or not. You might find this a convenient place to check for information about behavioral health care and its place in the world-at-large, or you might drop in occasionally just to see if there is anything that interests you.

For those of you checking in for something interesting, here are a couple of tidbits.

  1. ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) has published a final rule in which it establishes a temporary certification program for electronic health records as required under HITECH. As reported by Healthcare & Technology blog, this rule should allow progress toward approval of certifying organizations for EMR products.
  2. iHealthBeat reports on release of final rules for “Meaningful Use”. Many observers believe that the easing of requirements for the meaningful use of an electronic health record required to receive stimulus funds made available under HITECH will make it easier for eligible providers to receive funds. Other observers believe that even the easing of the standards will not make it simple for stimulus funds to be acquired, even for those who have already purchased and implemented EMRs.

It appears that life gets more complicated all the time, even if we have information. Since I do believe that knowledge is power, I will keep trying to pass some of what I come across on to you. Thanks for reading. Please let us know what you are thinking about. Just enter your comments below.

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