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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 (