Case study

Veterans Health Administration​

Documenting cognitive work in healthcare


The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system, providing care at 1,293 health care facilities, including 171 medical centers and 1,112 outpatient sites of care of varying complexity, serving 9 million enrolled Veterans each year. Understanding the cognitive challenges for clinicians working in such a diverse ecosystem of tools, people and processes, requires efficient methods tuned for uncovering cognitive performance.


Sponsored by VHA, our team conducted 60 cognitive task analysis interviews across 7 VHA facilities in just a few months.


We provided an in-depth look at the cognitive complexity, software and information requirements, and unique contextual challenges faced by VHA clinicians, uncovering findings that had never been reported in the literature. The findings helped develop guidelines for clinical decision support tools.

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