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Research

Under the direction of Dr. Charles Safran, the division has been supported by the National Library of Medicine to help patients and their doctors, working together, to improve the quality of medical care in their homes. Interactive interviews distributed over the Internet obtain medical histories and offer health-related information and suggestions. A randomized, controlled clinical trial of this approach is planned in 2008.

The Division's interests reach beyond the home to the International Space Station. In a study of depression-Self-treatment of Depression on Long-duration Spaceflights: A Continuation Study-supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, Dr. James Carter (the principal investigator) and his colleagues are developing a program for the behavioral treatment of depression using interactive multimedia.

Dr. Alexa McCray is funded from the Boston area Autism Consortium to conduct research leading to methods for the integration and dissemination of the results of autism research through the use of advanced informatics technologies. She will test the hypothesis that personalized information, delivered in a just-in-time fashion, leads to both improved control of health care problems by affected patients and their families and to enhanced communication between affected individuals and the health care system.

Dr. Jim Gray's research is focused on advancing the integration of evolving information technologies into the practice and evaluation of newborn care. His current work includes the use of industrial modeling techniques to evaluate the impact of technology on care processes.

Dr. Meghan Dierks' research is focused on systems engineering/human factors engineering applied to high-risk, complex clinical settings; the impact of technology on human performance in high-risk settings such as the intensive care unit and operating room; on information flow in high-risk, dynamic clinical settings; on knowledge representation and conceptual modeling; and on statistical pattern recognition in complex data sets for predictive modeling and outcomes analysis. Dr. Dierks provides key analytic support to the Silverman Institute for Health Care Quality and Safety and to other departments at BIDMC.

Dr. Steven Locke, a research psychiatrist in the Division as well as in the Department of Psychiatry, holds a joint appointment as research psychiatrist at the Harvard Center for Medical Simulation, where he directs a project to develop a curriculum, with standardized patients and techniques of simulation, to train physicians how to disclose medical errors and how to apologize for errors committed during the practice of medicine.

Dr. Safran has been funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to support the Informatics Strategy related to Disaster Preparedness and Countermeasure Response to address epidemiological problems, such as those with Pandemic Influenza. His work involves overseeing large-scale initiatives that relate to bio-surveillance and public health readiness.