Notification Fatigue


This subject popped up as a side conversation during a conference call I was on today. I was being asked my opinion about how to avoid “notification fatigue”. You know, when a system or systems provide so much feedback to a user that they effectively shut down and become immune to the notices.

As more and more medical services attempt to grab a patient’s attention with important health information, or perhaps even wrestle the patient’s attention away from somewhere else, like YouTube videos and Facebook friends, we will be facing a daunting challenge. This is where mHealth can play a vital role, for only a mobile device is accessible to the patient nearly all the time has the chance to grab their attention precisely when information is most relevant to them.

I’m afraid though, that the tools needed to do this well are going to run full speed into the HIPAA wall. Understanding relevancy for a patient requires detailed knowledge about their habits and behaviors, like what they are browsing and when. And once collected in the context of a patient – provider interaction, I expect that HIPAA and other statutes will have something to say about how or even if it can be used.

I hope to explore more about this in the coming months.

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