Medical informatics and the science of cognition

Vimla L. Patel, David R. Kaufman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Recent developments in medical informatics research have afforded possibilities for great advances in health care delivery. These exciting opportunities also present formidable challenges to the implementation and integration of technologies in the workplace. As in most domains, there is a gulf between technologic artifacts and end users. Since medical practice is a human endeavor, there is a need for bridging disciplines to enable clinicians to benefit from rapid technologic advances. This in turn necessitates a broadening of disciplinary boundaries to consider cognitive and social factors pertaining to the design and use of technology. The authors argue for a place of prominence for cognitive science. Cognitive science provides a framework for the analysis and modeling of complex human performance and has considerable applicability to a range of issues in informatics. Its methods have been employed to illuminate different facets of design and implementation. This approach has also yielded insights into the mechanisms and processes involved in collaborative design. Cognitive scientific methods and theories are illustrated in the context of two examples that examine human-computer interaction in medical contexts and computer-mediated collaborative processes. The framework outlined in this paper can be used to refine the process of iterative design, end-user training, and productive practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-502
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Medical Informatics Association
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics


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