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HSR&D Center for Health Information and Communication (CHIC)


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April Savoy, PhD | HCI Lab Director
Himalaya Patel, PhD | HCI Lab Manager

Human-computer interaction (HCI) is a specialty area within the scientific domains of human factors engineering and computer science. The VA HSR&D Human-Computer Interaction & Simulation Laboratory group utilizes both field-based (e.g., ethnography) and laboratory-based methods to capture data for research and evaluate information technology designs.  The laboratory can be reconfigured to simulate different patient care environments and provides the following capabilities: recording user screen actions through instrumented software designed to capture user interaction with the software interface; collecting video data of users’ non-verbal reactions; software tools to extract and analyze qualitative and quantitative data from human-computer interaction recordings; and rapid prototyping to develop and evaluate new software designs.   Types of projects include but are not limited to:

  • Evaluation to iteratively improve the design of a new informatics tool prior to implementation to increase the likelihood of adoption and effectiveness for patient care
  • Comparing two different designs such as a new design against an existing system to provide evidence on what design modifications should be implemented
  • Assessing usability errors and safety risks associated with an IT design
  • Evaluating the strengths and weakness of a software interface design pre- or post-implementation and in the context of patient care


If you would like to learn more or discuss a potential research proposal involving the laboratory, please contact April Savoy, PhD (

VA research projects conducted in partnership with the VA HSR&D Human-Computer Interaction & Simulation Laboratory are outlined the table below:

Project Funder Project Owner Lab Role Project Title Project Type
VA HSR&D Pilot April W. Savoy, PhD Context & Requirements iPad Functionality Leveraged to Optimize Workflow Research
VA Young Investigator Award April W. Savoy, PhD Context & Requirements Mobile Computing in VA Primary Care Research
VA HSR&D Career
Development Award
Alissa L. Russ, PhD Assessment The Secure Messaging for Medication Reconciliation Tool
(SMMRT) Trial 
VA HSR&D Alissa L. Russ, PhD;
Khoa A. Nguyen, PharmD
Context & Requirements;
Pharmacogenomic Clinical Decision Support Tool to 
Assist Safer Prescribing Decisions for Patients 
VA Office of Specialty
Care Services
Linda S. Williams, MD Assessment National Telestroke Program Evaluation Quality
Roudebush VA Medical Center
Informatics Innovation
Teresa M. Damush, PhD;
April W. Savoy, PhD
Conext & Requirements;
Enhanced Veteran Centered Primary Care Experiences to
Provide Veteran Centered Care
Regenstrief Innovations Thomas F. Imperiale, MD Assessment A Virtual Preventorium for Disease Prevention and Health