Information is only as good as its means of delivery.

Life is a series of decisions often made using imperfect information.

There are two ways to end up with imperfect information. First is that the information source is itself incomplete: nothing in medicine is 100%, the stock market is inherently unpredictable, as is weather, and we even can’t be sure that the organic pears aren’t grown using pesticides.

Outcome is only as good as the best information affords.

Even given a perfect source, imperfect communication of information also leads to flawed information.  Loss of emotional cues when transitioning from face-to-face to telephone to email to instant messages.  The dreaded typo “Oh that sentence was supposed to have a ‘not’ in the middle of it.”  Even the world as we see it is limited by our eyes – myopia, glaucoma, or perhaps simply the visible light spectrum.

While it is difficult to improve the quality of information source, using the appropriate means of communication to properly deliver information is sometimes easier.  It might just mean a strategically placed emoticon ;), careful proofreading, or a pair of glasses.

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Howard Chen
Vice Chair for Artificial Intelligence at Cleveland Clinic Diagnostics Institute
Howard is passionate about making diagnostic tests more accurate, expedient, and affordable through disciplined implementation of advanced technology. He previously served as Chief Informatics Officer for Imaging, where he led teams deploying and unifying radiology applications and AI in a multi-state, multi-hospital environment. Blog opinions are his own and in no way reflect those of the employer.

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