Appl Clin Inform 2021; 12(01): 133-140
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1723022
Review Article

Patients Are Knowledge Workers in the Clinical Information Space

Elizabeth Lerner Papautsky
1   Department of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Emily S. Patterson
2   School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
› Institutsangaben
Funding This study was not funded.


Background Limited research exists on patient knowledge/cognition or “getting inside patients' heads.” Because patients possess unique and privileged knowledge, clinicians need this information to make patient-centered and coordinated treatment planning decisions. To achieve patient-centered care, we characterize patient knowledge and contributions to the clinical information space.

Methods and Objectives In a theoretical overview, we explore the relevance of patient knowledge to care provision, apply historical perspectives of knowledge acquisition to patient knowledge, propose a representation of patient knowledge types across the continuum of care, and include illustrative vignettes about Mr. Jones. We highlight how the field of human factors (a core competency of health informatics) provides a perspective and methods for eliciting and characterizing patient knowledge.

Conclusion Patients play a vital role in the clinical information space by possessing and sharing unique knowledge relevant to the clinical picture. Without a patient's contributions, the clinical picture of the patient is incomplete. A human factors perspective informs patient-centered care and health information technology solutions to support clinical information sharing.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

No human subjects were involved in this study.


Eingereicht: 05. August 2020

Angenommen: 04. Dezember 2020

24. Februar 2021 (online)

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