Language is not just data.

Published on Mar 1, 2014in British Journal of General Practice5.386
· DOI :10.3399/BJGP14X677563
David Zigmond3
Estimated H-index: 3
(Hammersmith Hospital)
Computers and informatics have become central to NHS health care. All experience and activity are now subject to official technical designations. This changes our communications: language becomes increasingly lackeyed to the computer’s requirements. Much else is lost. My first mentors in general practice and psychiatry — galvanised by the just departed 1960s — were all nourished, enlivened, then enlightened by literature and philosophy. Such proclivities were not ponderous or self-conscious postures, but pursuits that were shared with a mien of quiet and unaffected pleasure. I remember many conversations where, in order to understand others better, we made wefts of contemporary pragmatic practice with illuminated threads from drama, philosophy, literature or mythology. The then-fresh Balint movement encouraged us to step up and out from our scientific base of standard diagnoses and treatments; while we recognised …
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