Fitts’s Law

This entry is part 35 of 43 in the series Words

Fitts’s Law has been known since Paul Fitts first proposed it in 1954. Wikipedia has a detailed exposition of Fitts’s Law. In essence, it says that “the time required to rapidly move to a target area is a function of the distance to the target and the size of the target.” “Targets that are smaller […]


Signal-to-Noise Ratio

This entry is part 27 of 43 in the series Words

I work at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. UPMC has prioritized IT, and compared with many other academic medical centers, the IT department is fairly well-funded and well-staffed. The central IT umbrella spreads wide, including 16 major hospitals and numerous other facilities. UPMC uses Cerner for an inpatient electronic medical record (EMR) (and for […]



This entry is part 31 of 43 in the series Words

Data mining has been a topic of interest to businesses and researchers for many decades. For physicians and other clinicians, and those designing systems for clinicians, data mining has been of less interest. Yes, you can use data mining to predict the volume of patients in your ED by day and hour. Yes, you can […]



This entry is part 30 of 43 in the series Words

On May 3, Steve Stack, Chair of the American Medical Association (and an emergency physician from Lexington, KY) gave a presentation on electronic health records (EHRs) to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The paper is worth a close read. He observes that physicians are technology early-adopters, but that there had to be Federal […]


Anti-Data Pixels

This entry is part 29 of 43 in the series Words

Less is More —Mies van der Rohe In high school English class, many of my generation were forced to study a book about writing known as “Strunk and White.” Compared to many other books we were forced to read, it had many advantages. It was short. It was to-the-point. It was full of pithy sayings, […]