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Invited Commentary
May 2014

Water, Water, Everywhere, and Not a Drop to Drink

Author Affiliations
  • 1Defense Health Agency, Health Information Technology Service, Information Delivery Division, Clinical Informatics Branch, San Antonio, Texas
  • 2Department of Medicine, San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, San Antonio, Texas
JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(5):719-720. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.1

In the movie Life of Pi, the protagonist and his tiger companion face a slow death from thirst while surrounded by an ocean of water. The ubiquity of the desired and vital substance, though in unacceptable form, supplies rich irony to the protagonist’s struggle, and so it is with the information needs of clinicians. It is no great revelation to say we live in a society that carries a universe of possibilities in its pocket: global telecommunication and video conferencing, instantaneous knowledge at our fingertips, business transactions via mobile applications, and libraries of books, music, and videos on demand. Even so, the information needs of clinicians who provide care in the office or at the bedside are not so easily met.

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