The just-in-time (JIT) model originated in the manufacturing industry as a way to manage parts inventories process so that specific components could be made available at the appropriate times (that is, "just in time"). This JIT model can be applied to the management of clinical information inventories, so that clinicians can have more immediate access to the most current and relevant information at the time they most need it--when making clinical care decisions. The authors discuss traditional modes of managing clinical information, and then describe how a new, JIT model may be developed and implemented. They describe three modes of clinician-information interactions that a JIT model might employ, the scope of information that may be made available in a JIT model (global information or local, case-specific information), and the challenges posed by the implementation of such an information-access model. Finally, they discuss how JIT information access may change how physicians practice medicine, various ways JIT information may be delivered, and concerns about the trustworthiness of electronically published and accessed information resources.
(C) 1997 Association of American Medical Colleges