Cognitive models in training health professionals to protect patients' confidential information

Vimla L. Patel, Jose F. Arocha, Edward H. Shortliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Recent advances in theories of learning and knowledge acquisition in culturally-situated environments have illuminated the role of cognition in changing behavior, and in turn on influencing performance for the long term. One such advance focuses on the relationship between explicit formal training and implicit knowledge acquired through daily interactive activities in schools and organizations. The former relates more to instruction regarding the policy issues whereas the latter is tied closely to cultural, moral and organizational values. In this paper, we draw on these theories of cognition and learning to show the shift in thinking that is needed regarding education of health professionals, including steps required to assure that the protection of confidential information becomes part of their routine practices. Illustrative examples are used to show the nature of conceptual change in the health professional's knowledge organization and reasoning strategies that is necessary for more sustained behavior change with regards to protecting data confidentiality and privacy of individual patients. This re-conceptualization is intended to be reflected at various levels of training and education for health professionals, including influences on personal and organizational practices as well as revisions in medical-school and graduate-medical curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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