When conversation is better than computation

Enrico Coiera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

310 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While largely ignored in informatics thinking, the clinical communication space accounts for the major part of the information flow in health care. Growing evidence indicates that errors in communication give rise to substantial clinical morbidity and mortality. This paper explores the implications of acknowledging the primacy of the communication space in informatics and explores some solutions to communication difficulties. It also examines whether understanding the dynamics of communication between human beings can also improve the way we design information systems in health care. Using the concept of common ground in conversation, proposals are suggested for modeling the common ground between a system and human users. Such models provide insights into when communication or computational systems are better suited to solving information problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-286
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Volume7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2000
Externally publishedYes

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