Information Overload

A few weeks ago I suddenly noticed that I wasn’t getting a couple daily medical e-newsletters to which I subscribe. In fact, I wasn’t even sure how long it had been. A week? A couple weeks? A month? I get a lot of blog ideas, journal club articles or just ideas to ponder or share with patients from these newsletters. After making a few phone calls, it seems something in the emails was flagged as spam on our end and the addresses were blocked. Some behind the scenes tweaking by IT and about a week later, they retuned.

Now I had the day’s headlines:

US Expected to Face Growing Shortage of Healthcare Workers

CDC Data Show Asthma Prevalence in the US is Rapidly Increasing

Being Overweight at Midlife May Increase Risk for Developing Dementia Later

Experts Warn of Primary-Care Physician Shortage as Baby Boomers Age

Shortages of Key Drugs may be Endangering Patients

Well . . . maybe that silence was a blessing in disgiuse, although just the same could be the ostrich sticking her head in the sand. I didn’t have to see the scary headlines for a while and life seemed much more calm. It’s often said that mastering the information taught in medical school is like trying to drink a sip of water from a fire hose. Sometimes it seems that the daily deluge of emails, Twitter, etc could be described the same way.

So far, my strategy has been to scan the headlines, save important stories in an email folder for later and try to clean out that folder from time to time. The same holds true for Twitter. The information is out there and we can’t ignore it, but taking time out for a “media cleanse” now and then can be helpful.

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