Education in the workplace for the physician: Clinical management states as an organizing framework*

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Medical educators are interested in approaches to making selected relevant knowledge available in the context of problem-based care. This is of value both during the process of care and as a means of organizing information for offline self-study. Four trends in health information technology are relevant to achieving the goal and can be expected to play a growing role in the future. First, health care enterprises are developing approaches for access to information resources related to the care of a patient, including clinical data and images but also communication tools, referral and other logistic tools, decision support, and educational materials. Second, information for patients and methods for patient-doctor interaction and decision making are becoming available. Third, computer-based methods for representation of practice guidelines are being developed to support applications that can incorporate their logic. Finally, considering patients as being in particular “clinical management states” (or CMSs) for specific problems, approaches are being developed to use guidelines as a kind of “predictive” framework to enable development of interfaces for problem-based clinical encounters. The guidelines for a CMS can be used to identify the kinds of resources specifically needed for clinical encounters of that type. As the above trends converge to produce problem-specific environments, professional specialty organizations and continuing medical education course designers will need to focus energies on organizing and updating medical knowledge to make it available in CMS-specific contexts.

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