UCLIC Research Seminar Series
Chronic diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide. Chronic illness management requires a majority of healthcare to be performed by lay individuals. Paramount to understanding the process of illness self-management by lay individuals is understanding the sociotechnical system in which it frequently occurs - the home environment. We combined distributed cognition theory and the patient work system model across two qualitative studies to investigate how characteristics of the home interact with the cognitive work of patient work and caregiver work: 1) patients with diabetes managing health information and 2) caregivers of patients with dementia. We found that strategies are developed as a result of the unique sociotechnical system in which healthcare work is performed. Features of the physical environment, of other people, or the organizational context, and of the tools and technologies present, continuously shape and are shaped by the self-management and caregiving processes. We suggest that approaches in which the individual (sans context) is assumed to be the relevant unit of analysis overlook the pivotal role of the environment in shaping how healthcare work happens in the home.
Nicole Werner, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Professor Werner is also an Affiliate Faculty in the Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement in the College of Engineering and the Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center in the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and a Discovery Fellow in the Living Environments Lab (where the primary research instrument is a 6-sided immersive Virtual Reality CAVE) in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. Professor Werner received her Ph.D. in Human Factors and Applied Cognition from George Mason University in 2014. Over her career, Professor Werner has conducted research to improve the delivery of health care including transitions and coordination of care, health systems risk analysis and hazard identification, medical device analysis, mitigating the effects of interrupted task performance in health care settings, checklist design and implementation to improve health care processes, and health information technology design and implementation. Her current research focuses on applying and developing Human Factors Engineering theory and methods to design a human-centered, smart, and connected patient journey.
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