Data, Information and Knowledge


Data, Information and Knowledge Data is a collection of facts from which conclusions can be drawn. Data is discrete entities objectively described, without interpretation or context. Raw data by itself means nothing. Information is data processed into a structured form. Data that are interpreted, organized, structured, and given meaning are referred to as information. To be useful, information must be the right information. It must be accurate, free from error, and meaningful. Information must be given to the right person – the person that will respond to it. Information must be given in a timely manner, at the correct time, not so late that it will be useless or detrimental to a treatment plan. Information must be delivered to the to the right place, a consult with a social worker is of no use if filed in the patients notes. Information must be given in the right amount. No one, (especially me), wants to wade through tons of paper for one piece if information. Knowledge is synthesized information derived from the interpretation of data, and it provides a logical basis for decision-making. Knowledge creates new questions and areas of research. To answer the questions, data are required that must be processes into information to create more knowledge. The purpose of this process is to provide the most up-to-date information to make decisions that guide practice.

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