Overcoming healthcare information overload


Facing a difficult decision about medical treatment? A new Massey research project may be able to help you.


A Massey University PhD student is testing a new way of dealing with information overload when making healthcare decisions – and she is seeking participants to help verify the approach works.

Yi-Mei Huang has developed a ‘personal knowledge mangement’ training programme that guides patients through a step-by-step process to improve the way they deal with large volumes of information.

“I am looking for people who are facing a medical treatment decision, such as for diabetes or other chronic health issues, and are feeling confused and struggling with a large amount of treatment information,” Ms Huang says.

She says participants will gain valuable insights from the training programme, including strategies for managing information and making important decisions.

“This is very much an educational programme; it’s not a healthcare advisory programme,” she says. “But the people who participated in the first cycle of the training programme said it enhanced their skills and understanding of knowledge management and allowed them to make more confident decisions about their healthcare.”

PhD student Yi-Mei Huang has developed a programme to help people better make sense of large amounts of information


How do you evaluate information in the digital age?

Ms Huang’s PhD supervisor Dr David Pauleen, from Massey University’s School of Management, says his student’s research could have useful implications for the health sector.

“Healthcare professionals encourage patients to participate in their own treatment decisions to get the best outcomes, but with the growth of internet and social media useage people are now overwhelmed with the volume of information available to them,” he says.

“Information can often be contradictory and it can be hard to locate the material that is of most use – traditional methods of managing and evaluating information are no longer suited to the digital age.”

Ms Huang says personal knowledge management is a process that helps individuals to better manage large amounts of information through improved critical thinking skills.

“In a health context it could really help patients to absorb information without generating confusion, leading to better, more confident decision-making,” she says.

People interested in participating in the research project must be facing a medical treatment decision but not so unwell that they are unable to give informed consent. Participants must also be aged 18 years or over and able to commit to weekly two-hour training sessions for five weeks.

For further information or to register your interest, please contact Yi-Mei Huang at Y.Huang2@Massey.ac.nz

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