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What Health IT Can Learn From the Food Network

Baked or fried? A dash of pepper or some cilantro for garnish? These are the decisions any chef might ask themselves during the preparation of a delicious meal. How is this related to IT? The answer comes from Dr. Nick van Terheyden writing for Wired’s Innovation Insights. Terheyden explains how food prep can be an effective guide for any professional of health IT:

Translating seemingly hodgepodge items into a meaningful and palatable format is not unlike the challenge we face in the health IT industry. There is no shortage of health data, but the question is: how do we extract the most important and valuable information and make it prominent so it is at our physicians’ fingertips and driving more informed clinical decisions – whether it is the latest lab result, X-ray, or consulting physician note? 

The Health IT Craze

There is a lot of buzz about the potential of new health platforms and gee-whiz health monitoring systems. In the future, it is nearly certain that these technologies will be at the disposal of companies and individuals alike. But as any wise IT guru will tell you, better technology does not always lead to better decisions. 

The Right Blend of Ingredients

Just as a well-cooked dish is nothing without the right mix of flavors, having a digital medical record is useless if it doesn’t present the proper blend of information. Likewise, too little or too much health information will either fail to inform or overwhelm, just as too much pepper makes the soufflé unpalatable. 

Perfect Presentation

Presentation also counts when considering the utility of health information. An experienced eater knows the revulsion of trying a food that supposedly tastes good, but that has the visual appeal of something found in a dumpster. In similar fashion, health information must be properly displayed and arranged to be mentally ingested by users.

Overall, Terheyden urges leaders in the IT health industry to be thoughtful when considering and arranging technology solutions. With this in mind, any IT pro can be like a chef who is well prepared to deliver the perfect dish, where all the best ingredients fall right into place.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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