Posted by: Tony Shannon | March 31, 2016

“This is the practice of Medicine”… says one visionary physician .. way ahead of his time

“This is the practice of medicine…” begins Dr Larry Weed , back in 1971.
He is holding a set of patient case notes in his hands.
“.. it’s intertwined with it…” he continues to his Medical Grand Rounds audience.

On a rare, deep and meaningful day…. this visionary physician takes a look at the humble patient case notes and dissects them out to explain the intimate connection between the science/art of medicine and the information therein.

Thankfully this lecture was captured in video at that time and has now been shared online with the wider world. As a physician with an interest in these issues I’m surprised I hadn’t come across it before as its been online for a few years already.
Thanks to Dr Ian McNicoll of freshehr who brought it to my attention at a series of openEHR workshops we’ve been running together recently around England and Ireland.
While the video is in black and white, clearly dated from the time of its taking back in 1971, the pearl in this unusual medical lecture is the brilliant mind at play.. that of Dr Larry Weed…. of some medical fame. Though his name is known for SOAP notes and POMR, I expect you may not have heard of or know what they mean …why would you .. they sound like dry and dusty acronyms.

However this video expose helps expose his important deep thinking further…
In teasing apart the medical case notes in his hands, he simultaneously shows how;

  • Medicine is an information intensive discipline
  • Good medical practice and good information management are intertwined
  • The quality and safety of medical care  – can only be judged from the medical information.
  • Our aims towards evidence based medicine, high quality research and related innovations – are critically dependent on the medical information.

In brief his work is heralding the arrival of medicine into the information age… such that much that has gone before it could appear like alchemy…
His thinking is so far ahead of his time that his words will still have implications for decades to come.  Its a rare insight… worth teasing out in more detail in future..
If you are interested in medical history this is worth a watch.
More importantly if you are interested in the future of medicine, this may become essential viewing…





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