This is funding to support a workshop of approximately 12 promising doctoral students along with 5 distinguished research faculty. The event, the 6th doctoral consortium on Sociotechnical Issues in Medical Informatics, will take place in conjunction with the 2013 Annual Symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) in Washington DC on November 16-20. Held every fall, this is the premier AMIA conference and the largest biomedical informatics conference in the United State, attracting researchers, professionals and students from an array of occupational settings who are interested in all aspects of health information technologies. More information about the conference may be found at

One issue that is of particular importance within medical informatics is the need to design/deploy systems with an understanding of how these systems fit into organizational and social contexts. The term sociotechnical denotes the importance of considering technical and organizational/social issues together rather than in isolation. For instance, the medical informatics community has long been interested in the technical features of the Electronic Medical Record (EMR), but less attention has been paid to how the design of the EMR will be affected by who the primary users of the system are, what context it is used in, and what interactions it should support. Yet, to design effective EMR systems, we need to understand how these different issues impact each other. The growing need for integrating research across disciplines (e.g., HCI and Medical Informatics) is the primary motivation for this doctoral consortium. Therefore, student participants will span a broad range of disciplines and approaches that inform medical informatics, including computer science, information science, engineering, clinical sciences, law, management and related fields. The doctoral consortium will take place on the weekend prior to the AMIA Symposium so the students can also participate in the conference, which will introduce them to the exciting breadth of research topics within the medical informatics community. Conversely, bringing a new generation of scholars from different disciplines into the medical informatics community will broaden that community's understanding of what other research disciplines can offer medical informatics.

The consortium will provide a forum for doctoral students to share their work and also network with other doctoral students and researchers. Student participants will give short presentations during the consortium and will receive constructive remarks and feedback on their research from prominent researchers as well as through interaction with other students. The feedback is designed to help students understand and articulate how their work is positioned relative to related research, whether their topics are adequately focused for thesis research projects, whether their methods are correctly chosen and applied, and whether their results are appropriately analyzed and presented. Thus, the consortium will help shape both these ongoing and future inter- and multi-disciplinary research projects focusing on organizational and social issues surrounding health-related technologies. The names and abstracts of the accepted participants will be printed in the AMIA program guide, and will also be made available to the public on a special website to be developed by the organizers.

Broader Impacts: The doctoral consortium will bring together people from different disciplines who might not otherwise engage with one another and will expose them to different scientific research approaches and questions. It will foster a sense of community among the young researchers by allowing them to create a supportive mentoring and social network both among themselves and with senior researchers at a critical stage in their professional development. The organizers will make a concerted and proactive effort to ensure a diverse pool of student participants including members of under-represented groups in the STEM disciplines; this, in turn, will broaden the students' horizons to the future benefit of the field.

Project Report

The goal of the Doctorial Consortium was to help develop the next generation of scientists and educators in fields related to health information technologies. The Doctorial Consortium provided a forum for senior PhD students working on problems in the health information technologies field to receive feedback on their research from prominent researchers in the field. The students attending the Doctorial Consortium were from many different research areas that touch on the design, implementation, and use of health information technologies including computer science, information science, and clinical sciences. The Doctorial Consortium was held at the same time and in the same location as the main research conference in the health information technologies field, the American Medical informatics Annual (AMIA) Symposium. Researchers who are interested in all aspects of health information technologies attend the AMIA symposium. One of the primary reasons that the Doctorial Consortium was held at AMIA was to introduce the students to the larger research community working on HIT issues. Consequently, students were able to attend the AMIA symposium and to learn more about the HIT field. During the Doctorial Consortium itself, students gave presentations on their research and described the challenges that that face in their research. Through these presentations and the feedback from participants, the students were able to identify ways to improve their research.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (IIS)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Ephraim Glinert
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Pennsylvania State University
University Park
United States
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