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Bill Clancey Reviews Cognitive Complexity And Error Research Program

Bill Clancey (Chief Scientist, Human-Centered Computing, Code TI) served as ad-hoc advisory board member for a review of the “Cognitive Complexity and Error in Critical Care” research program funded by the James S. McDonnell Foundation. The meeting was held at the New York Academy of Medicine, May 14-15, 2012, involving physicians, computer scientists, and cognitive scientists from four hospitals and universities engaged in a six-year effort with NYAM. This symposium focused on intervention strategies that mitigate error (and enhance safety) in critical care settings.

This healthcare research program has been inspired by aeronautics studies of human error. Given that avoiding all error is impossible, medical researchers are emphasizing how to design work systems for detecting and recovering from error (before a critical failure occurs) by a proper combination of human roles/responsibilities, handover logs and briefings, and alerting tools. These concepts are directly applicable to NASA’s research in Aviation Safety, particularly work systems analysis and simulation for assurance of flight-critical systems (AFCS).

BACKGROUND: The James S. McDonnell Foundation (JSMF), established in 1950 by aerospace pioneer James S. McDonnell, aims to “improve the quality of life” through support of research and scholarship. JSMF has funded research in medical cognitive science for thirty years, combining methods from psychology, education, artificial intelligence, and anthropology.

COLLABORATORS:
JSMF Advisory Board: René Amalberti (MD, Senior Advisor for Patient Safety, Haute Autorité de Santé, France), Alan Lesgold (Dean, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh), Vimla Patel (Director, Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health, 
The New York Academy of Medicine), Michael Shabot (System Chief Medical Officer, 
Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Houston), Ted Shortliffe (Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University)
ARC/TI: Guillaume Brat, Joe Coughlan, Bill Clancey (ARC/FIHMC).

NASA FUNDING SOURCE: James S. McDonnell Foundation; Aviation Safety program in ARMD through the AFCS element of the System-Wide Safety and Assurance Technologies (SSAT) Project

Contact: William J. Clancey

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