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A Conceptual Framework for the Representation of Information in EHRs to Support Clinicians’ Cognitive Tasks

Author: Zhe Li, BA

Primary Advisor: Trevor Cohen MBChB, PhD

Committee Members: Hongbin Wang, PhD

Masters thesis, The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston.


The healthcare environment requires physicians performing cognitively challenging tasks such as information seeking and comprehension. Health information technology (HIT) has been viewed as a panacea for the support of clinical care, but falls short of assisting physicians by storing and representing the information that is necessary for and generated from such tasks. Many valuable components of physicians’ internal representation of a given patient are missing from electronic repositories and thus are not utilized to support other cognitive tasks. One of the reasons for this limitation is that the information representation frameworks adopted by current systems are not grounded in an understanding of how clinicians’ minds process and manipulate information during cognitive tasks. In this study, we use a grounded theory approach to derive a conceptual framework based on data reflecting clinicians’ comprehension. This framework will inform the design of HIT systems with the ability to better support clinicians’ cognitive tasks.