Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 30

The human interface of biomedical informatics

Department of Biomedical Sciences, Mercer University School of Medicine, Savannah, Georgia, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Edward C Klatt
1250 East 66th Street, Savannah, GA 31404
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_39_18

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Biomedical informatics is the science of information, where information is defined as data with meaning. This definition identifies a fundamental challenge for informaticians: connecting with the healthcare team by enabling the acquisition, retrieval, and processing of information within the cognitive capabilities of the human brain. Informaticians can become aware of the constraints involved with cognitive processing and with workplace factors that impact how information is acquired and used to facilitate an improved user interface providing information to healthcare teams. Constraints affecting persons in the work environment include as follows: (1) cognitive processing of information; (2) cognitive load and memory capacity; (3) stress-affecting cognition; (4) cognitive distraction, attention, and multitasking; (5) cognitive bias and flexibility; (6) communication barriers; and (7) workplace environment. The human brain has a finite cognitive load capacity for processing new information. Short-term memory has limited throughput for processing of new informational items, while long-term memory supplies immediate simultaneous access to multiple informational items. Visual long-term memories can be extensive and detailed. Attention may be task dependent and highly variable among persons and requires maintaining control over distracting information. Multitasking reduces the effectiveness of working memory applied to each task. Transfer of information from person to person, or machine to person, is subject to cognitive bias and environmental stressors. High-stress levels increase emotional arousal to reduce memory formation and retrieval. The workplace environment can impact cognitive processes and stress, so maintaining civility augments cognitive abilities. Examples of human-computer interfaces employing principles of cognitive informatics inform design of systems to enhance the user interface.

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