Sociotechnical and Human-Centered Design

Our evaluative research aims to improve health care practices that involve health information technology (HIT).

By studying how health care practices use HIT, and how health care professionals and patients interact with it, our division contributes to better patient care outcomes.

Our problem-driven research is supported by appropriate theoretical frameworks, feeding into both qualitative and quantitative research methods. 

Much of our research takes place in practice settings, making it evaluative in nature.


Research in our division focuses on:

  • health care workflow analysis
  • mutual shaping of health care practices and technology
  • theoretical frameworks for human-centered design
  • ethnographic analysis and iterative design
  • organizational, social, environmental, physical and cognitive challenges of human-computer interaction
  • external representations in computer interface designs, the representational effect and laws of proximity and symmetry
  • human-centered and sociotechnical approaches to system design and evaluation
  • task analysis, think-aloud protocols, work sampling and cognitive walk-throughs in HIT studies
  • use-centered design, testing and safety engineering
  • distributed-cognition design concepts
  • design concepts for information management systems
  • virtual reality, collaborative workspaces and immersive environments
  • human factors for health information systems

Resources and Equipment

We use qualitative research software, including NVivo and Atlas.ti, to analyze qualitative data.

If necessary, we use specialized equipment in other UB departments to study human-computer interaction.

Training Opportunities

We welcome master’s and doctoral students to collaborate with our faculty on naturalistic studies of HIT.


We can help UB faculty, health care professionals and patient groups evaluate HIT in practice.


Gateway Building
77 Goodell Street, 5th Floor
Buffalo, NY 14203