Dr. Jason Saleem Receives Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Award

Headshot of Jason SaleemThis last September, Dr. Jason Saleem, an Assistant Professor with the Department of Industrial Engineering and the Director of the Center for Ergonomics, received the first ever grant awarded to the Speed School from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for his work on exam room layouts. His work, which synthesizes engineering and psychology, is largely designed for the tacit psychological elements of exam room design particular to doctor/patient interaction.

A former employee at the VA hospital in Indianapolis, Dr. Saleem pioneered research into the use of electronic record keeping in the medical field made mandatory by the Obama administration. He explains, “physicians were angry. Physicians were used to having a relationship with the patient. Now they’re required to do it all when the patient is there to get it all down. Now you have this third entity there (the computer) between interacting with the patient. Physicians value being able to touch the patient, to have a relationship with the patient.”

He adds, “Now they’re focused on the computer and they have to do all this documentation. How do you integrate the computer into that relationship? Now the physicians have to become good at using the computer as a way to enhance their communication with the patient, to involve them with what they’re doing on the computer. Then how do you design that stuff to make it flexible for them to be able to do that?”

But Dr. Saleem is committed to finding a solution that benefits everyone. He says, “When they started putting computers in the room, they would just put them wherever the outlet was. Now you see these wall-mounted flexible arms for computer monitors that results in more eye gaze on the patient, because they are able to spend more time looking at the patient. We’re measuring that in the lab right now. I have real physicians coming in to do simulated patient visits.”