Psychological Science Informs Deployment of Healthcare Information Technology

A report released January 9 finds current efforts to deploy health care information technology lacking and suggests success will only be achieved if computer science and health/biomedical informatics researchers place greater emphasis on providing cognitive support for health care providers and for patients and family caregivers.

With healthcare reform one of the hottest topics on the new administration’s agenda, Science GRO staff hope that such reform will be informed by psychological science at all levels.  That being said, the release of a report by the National Research Council entitled "Computational Technology for Effective Health Care: Immediate Steps and Strategic Directions" seems especially timely. 

The report, released January 9, is the first phase of a two-phase project sponsored jointly by the National Library of Medicine, the National Science Foundation, Partners HealthCare System, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Commonwealth Fund, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. APA Fellow Don Norman represented the behavioral sciences for the Committee on Engaging the Computer Science Research Community in Health Care Informatics. The report finds current efforts to deploy health care information technology lacking and suggests success will only be achieved if computer science and health/biomedical informatics researchers place greater emphasis on providing cognitive support for health care providers and for patients and family caregivers.  Beyond the scientists themselves, vendors, health care institutions, and government will also have to pay attention to cognitive support, which refers to computer-based tools and systems that offer clinicians and patients assistance for thinking about and solving problems related to specific instances of health care.