Translational cognition for decision support in critical care environments: A review

Vimla Patel, Jiajie Zhang, Nicole A. Yoskowitz, Robert Green, Osman R. Sayan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


The dynamic and distributed work environment in critical care requires a high level of collaboration among clinical team members and a sophisticated task coordination system to deliver safe, timely and effective care. A complex cognitive system underlies the decision-making process in such cooperative workplaces. This methodological review paper addresses the issues of translating cognitive research to clinical practice with a specific focus on decision-making in critical care, and the role of information and communication technology to aid in such decisions. Examples are drawn from studies of critical care in our own research laboratories. Critical care, in this paper, includes both intensive (inpatient) and emergency (outpatient) care. We define translational cognition as the research on basic and applied cognitive issues that contribute to our understanding of how information is stored, retrieved and used for problem-solving and decision-making. The methods and findings are discussed in the context of constraints on decision-making in real-world complex environments and implications for supporting the design and evaluation of decision support tools for critical care health providers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-431
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Biomedical Informatics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Clinical workflow
  • Cognitive task analysis
  • Critical care
  • Decision support
  • Distributed cognition
  • Emergency triage
  • Ethnographic analysis
  • Intensive care
  • Medical errors
  • Naturalistic decision-making
  • Technological design
  • Translational cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics


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