The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of information chaos as it applies to the issues of patient safety and physician workload in primary care and to propose a research agenda.
We use a human factors engineering perspective to discuss the concept of information chaos in primary care and explore implications for its impact on physician performance and patient safety.
Information chaos is comprised of various combinations of information overload, information underload, information scatter, information conflict, and erroneous information. We provide a framework for understanding information chaos, its impact on physician mental workload and situation awareness, its consequences, discuss possible solutions and suggest a research agenda which may lead to methods to reduce the problem.
Information chaos is experienced routinely by primary care physicians. This is not just inconvenient, annoying and frustrating; it has implications for physician performance and patient safety. Additional research is needed to define methods to measure and eventually reduce information chaos.