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PhD Defense - Michael Gonzales

Start: 4/4/2016 at 10:00AM
End: 4/4/2016 at 1:00PM
Location: 315 Stinson Remick
Attendees: Faculty and students are welcome to attend the presentation portion of the defense. Light refreshments will be served.
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Michael Gonzales

April 4, 2016

10:00 am

315 Stinson Remick

Adviser:  Dr. Laurel Riek

Committee Members: 

Dr. Peter Kogge     Dr. Ron Metoyer     Dr. Katie Siek


"Dissertation Title:"Safety-Critical Healthcare Technology Design"


Preventable medical errors are a severe problem in healthcare, causing over 400,000 deaths per year in US hospitals alone. In acute care, the branch of medicine encompassing the emergency department and intensive care units, error rates may be higher to due low situational awareness among clinicians engaged in safety-critical procedures. Here, clinicians often work together in high-stress scenarios that require strong team communication and coordination.

This dissertation explores the design and evaluation of a collaborative health information technology (HIT) tool we call Visual TASK (Team Awareness and Shared Knowledge). Visual TASK is a multimodal shared cognitive aid for acute care. The goal of Visual TASK is to promote communication, coordination, and situational awareness in acute care. In this dissertation, I outline the ethnographic fieldwork, design, and evaluation of Visual TASK studied in the context of three US hospitals.  My work explores some of the environmental and resource constraints facing clinicians, describes how we used these findings in the tool's design, and walk through an evaluation of the tool at two US hospitals.

This research informs the design of future safety-critical technology. Technology designers must take into consideration how clinicians cognitively process tasks, coordinate as a team, and understand their workflow to create effective solutions. This can help prevent some of the severe problems that compromise patient safety and help reduce the number of preventable medical errors that occur today. Patient lives are worth the time investment in fully understanding the magnitude new technology has on the clinical workflow.