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UTHealth receives $15 million for health information technology research
Date:4/7/2010

's leading team in cognitive informatics."

One of the barriers to widespread electronic health record (EHR) use is that most EHR systems are not as user friendly as they should be, according to Vimla L. Patel, Ph.D., DSc, who is a NCCD co-director and a UTHealth School of Health Information Sciences professor.

Just as television viewers can become frustrated with a remote control that has too many buttons, the consumers of electronic health data can become frustrated with health information technology systems that do not take into account their information processing capabilities and decision processes, she said.

Health information technology systems need to be designed with an understanding of the minds of the people using them, Patel said. Human beings will choose what is easy to use, pleasant to work with and delivers what they want, she added.

"There is an opportunity to develop systems that are much more sensitive to users," said Edward Shortliffe, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at the UTHealth School of Health Information Sciences and the president and CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association in Washington, D.C. "Much of what is being done now is to get doctors to install electronic health record systems. Our research will ultimately help to ensure that these systems are used."

Brent King, M.D, chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, a part of UTHealth, says he looks forward to the day when health information technology systems will be able to help clinicians with sophisticated decision making. "The doctor's brain shouldn't have to be the repository of all health information. There should be programs that signal the physician when it is important to act," he said.

Jiajie Zhang, Ph.D., the principal investigator for this $15 million grant and co-director of the NCCD, said that eventually accessing health information could be as easy as taking
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Contact: Rob Cahill
robert.cahill@uth.tmc.edu
713-500-3030
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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