Research Areas

Department of Defense OR360 Research

The OR360 project seeks to re-engineer teamwork and technology for twenty-first century trauma care. The project's main focus is on improving care for wounded warriors by enhancing teamwork, process, and hand offs in trauma. Using insights gained from the study of human factors, we have identified and applied methods to improve care efficiency, leadership, teamwork, and information distribution. Early results show improvements in flow and treatment time, and a statistically significant decrease in length of stay. The next phase of the research will involve refinements and initial testing of assistive smartphone technology, which will be conducted first in a state-of-the-art simulation, then in real trauma cases in both military and civilian care centers.

Improving the Safety and Efficiency of Robotic Surgery

This project examines teamwork and learning in robotic surgery, which depends on elements other than surgical technique alone, including the operation type, the surgeon's prior experience with open surgery, and the surgeon's laparoscopic skills. Our goal is to apply the principles of human factors research to robotic surgery, to better understand where care is inefficient or suboptimal, and apply human factors principles to improve the design of and training for surgical robotic systems.

Modeling Safety Decision Making

There is a critical need to understand why safety policies and procedures that are known to work are not adhered to and how new processes can lead to behavioral change. The challenge is to understand the relationship between clinical naturalistic decision-making, care processes, and organizational pressures. By comparing different models of behavioral intention and compliance, we are exploring how to provide safer care for patients by understanding how existing and new procedures elicit behaviors within broader process, organization, and systems contexts.

Cedars-Sinai Healthcare Innovation Network

Through our work with the United States of America Department of Defense over the last five years, Cedars-Sinai has assembled a multidisciplinary team of surgeons, psychologists and industrial engineers to quantitatively and qualitatively analyze the efficiency of medical care. The Gewertz Laboratory now proposes to offer this type of analysis and corrective action to other healthcare institutions through a collaborative Healthcare Innovation Network. In doing so, we acknowledge that each hospital may have different challenges. We plan to help hospitals master a process by which they can identify and test solutions specific to their environment. The Gewertz Lab then works with hospitals to develop interventions and supportive resources in safety and efficiency to further these goals. We anticipate that the greatest need will be in mid-sized and smaller hospitals where experience and resources for performance improvement are less robust.