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UVA Researcher Develops Sytems to Reduce User Error
October 29, 2008

Working in a complex system such as an inpatient hospital ward can be a dizzying experience. And when the flow of information from patients to caregivers to electronic medical records breaks down, patients can receive incorrect medications and surgeons can operate on the wrong body part.

Stephanie Guerlain, an associate engineering professor at the University of Virginia, is using cognitive engineering to streamline complex systems. Her work aims to create a less stressful workplace for system operators and, in turn, a safer world for the public.

In late September, Ms. Guerlain presented her lecture on this field of research, “Cognitive Engineering: It’s Not What You Think”, at the 2008 Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, hosted by the National Academy of Engineering in Albuquerque, N.M.

A combination of psychology, anthropology, computer science, design and systems engineering, the field of cognitive systems engineering is the understanding and designing of systems that require human intellectual work. In addition to Ms. Guerlain’s design of systems for medical, power and military applications, her research could be applied to improving the design of air traffic control and financial monitoring systems.

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