Yunan Chen

Easier Access, Better Care

A medical doctor by training, Professor Yunan Chen is breaking new ground in electronic medical records (EMR) systems research. Studies show these central information technologies are expensive and difficult to implement. They also have inherent issues tied to software design and how the technology meshes with the needs of busy professionals. “I look at these systems and how doctors use them,” Professor Chen says.“ My goal is to find new ways of designing them to improve doctor efficiency, reduce medical errors and elevate patient care.”

Taking It Personally

Professor Chen studies how physicians and patients communicate in medical exam rooms — a typical situation in which a doctor must consult the EMR system for the patient’s information. Her research has uncovered a critical disconnect: Doctors are often distracted and can be more engaged with the system than with the patient. “I’m focused on designing enhancements that restore human contact, helping patients feel more satisfied with the attention they receive while still retaining the benefits of EMR systems. It’s a difficult balance, but a vitally important one.”

Prepping the Doctor

Professor Chen also teaches doctors to use existing technology better. “Sometimes, harnessing the tools we already have is as essential as creating new innovations” she says. For instance, she stresses that the use of paper notes by doctors and nurses in the emergency room should not be seen as a problem to be eliminated, but rather, as an integral part of the solution being put forth. “The benefit of my work is that it studies the human being and not just the technology. I want to help practitioners access the right information at the right time to give the right advice to patients. The future of healthcare depends on it.”

Yunan Chen - ICS faculty head shotsphoto: Jocelyn Lee/UC Irvine communications

“People should be able to access health information when they need it, where they need it.”

home page