Making Technology Work for You with Michelle Rogers

Welcome to our next curator, Dr Michelle L. Rogers (@HF_HITLab), Associate Professor in College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University in the chicagoUnited States. Michelle’s chief interests lie in Human Factors Engineering. She’s been in the field for more than 15 years, using human factors engineering methods and socio-technical systems theory to study the impact of health information technology (HIT) on clinical workflow, the usability of technology with and by medically underserved populations. Dr. Rogers has been working on several projects investigating the usability and utility of patient portals accessing their electronic medical records. Internationally, she has been studying the use of HIT in global public health, Uganda in particular. Michelle has received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Diabetes Association (ADA), as well as several teaching awards at Drexel University. She holds graduate degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and undergraduate degrees in electrical engineering from Spelman College and Georgia Tech. Here’s Michelle talking about her life and work.

I seem to always want to do something with engineering and science. Growing up, I would participate in summer programs that exposed me to different fields of science and technology. I was around role models and examples of engineers that looked like me so I didn’t doubt that it was something I could do. When it came time for college, I knew I wanted to do engineering but I also wanted to do other things. I chose to attend the Dual Degree Engineering program in the Atlanta University Center so i was able to attend Spelman College and Georgia Tech. I tried teaching but ended up back in engineering working with STEM outreach as well.


I work in human factors engineering because it offered a good explanation of why technology succeeds or fails to me. If the focus is on the user and how they work/use technology, we will not get people to use their tools in ways that they are useful to them, we will also help them to not make mistakes (which are usually the result of bad design). I work mostly in healthcare because we can have an immediate impact or workplaces that make a mlr_kampaladifference.


I use human factors engineering methods and socio-technical systems theory to study the impact of health information technology (HIT) on the work/use. Over my career, I have worked with the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS), the Bar-Code Medication Administration (BCMA) system and MyHealthVet (VA patient portal) in use at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). Most recently, I have been working on several projects investigating collecting information needs from medically under-served patients and clinicians using HIT and understanding the usability and utility of patient portals accessing their electronic medical records. Internationally, I have been working with a research team studying the use of HIT in public health in Uganda.


Hospitals and other medical facilities have been deploying information systems at a rapid rate. The speed and utilization of these systems will only increase as the implementation of electronic medical records and other clinical information systems have been tied to government reimbursement for medical services. This is complicated by the fact that health information systems failures have been widely documented and reports identify the problem issues around social, technical, and organizational factors. We do not understand how to deliver information to health care providers when they need it, in a format they can use, and in a way that fits transparently into their workflow and into the daily lives of patients. This is crucial to understand, given significant health improvements have been demonstrated when using technologies that utilize concepts of patient involvement in documentation of health outcomes, increased patient-provider communication and patient engagement. Given these initiatives, we can’t ignore the different use patterns by medically under-served populations and the clinicians who care for them, often with less sophisticated equipment and technical support.


A constant external activity I participate in involves improving the exposure of under-represented students to fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). I am currently working with a research team exposing middle school girls to STEM fields through the arts and dance – STEAM. We have piloted a project “Black Girls STEAMing through Dance: Examining STEAM Literacies, STEAM Identities, and Self-concept”. The objective of the work is to leverage a collaboration between the fields of education, dance, design, and computing to uncover new knowledge about the ways in which African American young girls develop STEAM literacies, STEAM identities, and positive self-concept through their participation in a concert dance program.


I love to travel! My ideal day off would include getting out of bed whenever I wake up (no alarm), sharing a meal with family and friends, taking a trip to a place I have never been – enjoying the time.


Welcome, Michelle!

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