Methodological framework for evaluating clinical processes: A cognitive informatics perspective

Thomas G. Kannampallil, Joanna Abraham, Vimla L. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


We propose a methodological framework for evaluating clinical cognitive activities in complex real-world environments that provides a guiding framework for characterizing the patterns of activities. This approach, which we refer to as a process-based approach, is particularly relevant to cognitive informatics (CI) research—an interdisciplinary domain utilizing cognitive approaches in the study of computing systems and applications—as it provides new ways for understanding human information processing, interactions, and behaviors. Using this approach involves the identification of a process of interest (e.g., a clinical workflow), and the contributing sequences of activities in that process (e.g., medication ordering). A variety of analytical approaches can then be used to characterize the inherent dependencies and relations within the contributing activities within the considered process. Using examples drawn from our own research and the extant research literature, we describe the theoretical foundations of the process-based approach, relevant practical and pragmatic considerations for using such an approach, and a generic framework for applying this approach for evaluation studies in clinical settings. We also discuss the potential for this approach in future evaluations of interactive clinical systems, given the need for new approaches for evaluation, and significant opportunities for automated, unobtrusive data collection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-351
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Cognitive informatics
  • Complexity
  • Interactive clinical systems
  • Naturalistic environments
  • Process
  • Process-based approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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