Welcome to the UMass Decision-Making and Behavior Lab


The Decision-Making and Behavior Lab seeks to model how individuals gather and use information to make complex decisions, particularly in the area of health information technology (IT). We aim to model healthcare providers’ (e.g., physicians’ and nurses’) and patients’ cognitive and behavioral interactions with health information technology as they make decisions about preventing diseases, diagnosing conditions, managing chronic diseases, and treating acute illnesses. These cognitive and behavioral models, if accurate and robust, can objectively guide health IT design and training by predicting whether specific design changes and training programs will satisfy the goals of the processes in which the health IT will be used.

This research sits uniquely at the intersection of health informatics, engineering psychology or human factors, and industrial engineering. The primary application area of our research lies within health informatics, the methods for capturing and modeling these interactions stem largely from engineering psychology and human factors – as well as other disciplines such as computer science, and improving processes through thoughtful health IT design aligns with the goals of industrial engineering.

In conjunction with physician and nurse collaborators, we have engaged in multiple research activities aimed at building the capacity for creating these cognitive and behavioral models. Specific to healthcare, we have examined:

    • Nurses’ interactions with electronic falls reporting systems
    • Nurses’ interactions with electronic health records (EHRs) during the chemotherapy treatment plan review process
    • Physicians’ use of information in electronic progress notes
    • Physicians’ interactions with EHRs during routine patient office visits
    • Physicians’, nurses’, and technicians’ use of EHRs and barcode technology to verify patients’ identities
    • Patients’ interactions with devices and websites that send data (e.g., blood pressure readings) to nurses and physicians
    • Patients’ and families’ information needs when making choices about palliative and end-of-life care
    • Patients’ choices to electronically share their health information
    • Consumers’ use of quality of care information to choose health insurance plans
    • Healthcare managers’ use of quality of care information to make budget allocation decisions for quality improvement initiatives

Visit our research page to learn more about our projects, and contact Dr. Marquard (jlmarquard@ecs.umass.edu) if you have any questions or comments.

Our Work, Visually