Tag clouds and patient context switching

This morning’s post about the healthcare debate in the form of a tag cloud sparked this idea; it may not be new, but it certainly is a good one.

Consider the number of patients a doctor or nurse sees in a day. Minutes are spent reviewing the chart before seeing the patient. What was discussed weeks, maybe months ago?  Notes must be read, labs must be consulted, etc. These minutes add up.  What if there was a way we could condense these notes to reduce time spent ‘context switching’ between patients?

One way we could do this is to compute word clouds from patient notes and lab values most reviewed. This way, relevant information would immediately be available, vastly reducing the need to read the excruciating details of each note (which can contain lots of administrative fluff, anyway).

What are some thoughts from M.D.s on this? would this sort of ‘note cloud’ be helpful?

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