Archive (2016–2006)

Supporting Medical Planning by Mitigating Cognitive Load

Journal: Methods of Information in Medicine
Subtitle: A journal stressing, for more than 50 years, the methodology and scientific fundamentals of organizing, representing and analyzing data, information and knowledge in biomedicine and health care
ISSN: 0026-1270
Issue: 2007 (Vol. 46): Issue 6 2007
Pages: 636-640

Supporting Medical Planning by Mitigating Cognitive Load

D. W. Glasspool 1, A. Oettinger 1, J. H. Smith-Spark 2, F. D. Castillo 1, V. E. L. Monaghan 1, J. Fox1

1Advanced Computation Laboratory, Cancer Research UK, London, United Kingdom 2Department of Psychology, London South Bank University, London, United Kingdom


Decision Making, user-computer interface, Patient care planning


Objectives: Developing a care plan for a patient is a complex task, requiring an understanding of interactions and dependencies between procedures and of their possible outcomes for an individual patient. Decision support for planning has broader requirements than are typically considered in medical informatics applications. We consider the appropriate design of software to assist medical planning. Methods: The likely cognitive loads imposed by planning tasks were assessed with a view to directly supporting these via software. Results: Five types of cognitive load are likely to be important. A planning support system, REACT, was designed to ameliorate these cognitive loads by providing targeted dynamic feedback during planning. An initial evaluation study in genetic counselling indicates that the approach is successful in that role. Conclusions: The approach provides the basis of a general aid for visualizing, customizing and evaluating care plans.

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