Our research addresses the design of complex sociotechnical systems, primarily in healthcare settings, using mixed methods approaches to support teams and improve outcomes. In healthcare, that means patient outcomes (e.g., patient safety, quality of care) as well as clinician outcomes (e.g., workload, burnout). We have conducted research focused on primary care, care coordination of patients with chronic conditions (hospital to community care transitions) and trauma care. Dr. Wooldridge’s dissertation, conducted in the context of a larger project developing health information technology to support teamwork and care transitions, took a macroergonomic approach to studying care transitions of trauma patients. She then examined on the handoff communication associated with those handoffs as instances of team cognition. Our lab continues this line of research.

Current projects include continuing to study care transitions; we will conduct observation studies of inpatient care transitions between hospital units as well as return to the community care setting by studying hospital discharge care transitions. Part of this work will explore the concept of the “patient journey,” i.e., spatio-temporal distribution of patients’ interactions with multiple care settings (e.g., hospitals, clinics, home, long-term care, etc.) over time. We will then develop interventions, such as redesigned processes, new technologies, etc., to improve care transitions; this will involve participatory design processes and usability evaluations in our lab and/or simulated settings such as JUMP Simulation. A third area of research includes developing ways to measure team cognition, particular in care transitions. Key components of our research approach include engaging frontline workers (patients and their family as well as various healthcare professionals) and utilizing mixed methods, i.e., both qualitative and quantitative, research designs.