Ep. 3 — Lightening the Load: Strategies to Reduce Cognitive Stress in Clinical Practice | Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Well-Being


Delivering health care is high stakes, but we too often don’t protect our attention and let in too many distractions. In this podcast, Liz Harry, Chief Well-Being Officer at Michigan Medicine, argues that we make things harder by enabling systems that add to our cognitive load. Dr. Harry helps us understand how cognitive load affects clinical care, gives tips on reducing our load and describes what a true cognitive break looks like. To learn more visit https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/office-of-well-being/podcast  


  1. Overload is associated with burnout, and our risk of overload increases as the amount of data coming at us increases.
  2. Organizations seeking to address burnout can look at interventions that affect extrinsic load, such as instituting standardization, reducing redundancy and ensuring that clinicians are not forced to split their attention.
  3. It’s important to be patient with our early career doctors, nurses and other clinicians, who are experiencing especially heavy cognitive load because they are building new mental models while gaining experience.
  4. Cognitive overload shows up in our work and in our home lives. Practical tips for reducing cognitive load: Standardize and set routines, protect our attention by limiting interruptions and prioritize focused attention on the things and people that matter most.