We are interested in how the design of medical information influences the way people use medical checklists in patient care. We believe that design matters. We believe that good design can improve adoption and use of checklists, increase their sustained use during patient care and increase completion of all steps correctly in a more timely fashion. We also believe that bad design can have the opposite effects. Both should be studied.

We are fortunate to have an outstanding group of faculty at Stanford who are working on the design, evaluation, and implementation of cognitive aids in medicine. We call ourselves the Cognitive Aids in Medicine group at Stanford, with the following Stanford Faculty: Larry Chu, MD (Design, Medical Cognition), Kyle Harrison, MD (Medical Cognition, Crisis Resource Management), Stu Card, PhD (Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction) and Scott Klemmer, PhD (Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction).

This Cogaids website project, and the design of static media-based medical cognitive aids, is led by Drs. Larry Chu and Kyle Harrison of the Stanford AIM Lab. Other projects, such as our dynamic computer-generated cognitive aid work is done in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of experts and advisors at Stanford’s Department of Computer Science Human Computer Interaction group, led by Stu Card and Scott Klemmer.

Note bene: Early work in cognitive aids in medical crises was published by David Gaba, Kevin Fish and Steven Howard in their text, Crisis Management in Anesthesiology (Gaba, Fish and Howard, 1994). We acknowledge their contributions to the field of crisis resource management.

Static Media-based Cognitive Aids and Medical Cognition Team

Dr. Larry Chu and Dr. Kyle Harrison

Dr. Larry Chu and Dr. Kyle Harrison lead the group’s efforts in designing static media-based cognitive aids. The team uses rapid prototyping and low- and high-fidelity simulation to study medical cognition (how people find, understand, remember, and use medical information) in the context of medical care.  They hope to identify design qualities and characteristics of static media-based cognitive aids that are most effective for engaging clinicians at the point of care and helping them perform consistently correct and complete emergency medical treatments during critical events in medicine. This work centers around the Stanford Anesthesia Informatics and Media Lab.

Interactive Computer-based Cognitive Aids

Interactive Aid Team

Dr. Scott Klemmer and Dr. Stuart Card from the Stanford Human-Computer Interaction group are leading the group’s efforts in developing dynamic interactive cognitive aids, implementing large-scale displays to enhance shared mental modeling during the management of medical crises. Dr. Larry Chu and Dr. Kyle Harrison are co-investigators on this project and are responsible for the medical direction and study of medical cognition for the project.

Other individuals in the Stanford HCI group who have contributed to this important work include: Professor: Pat Hanrahan, Students: Leslie Wu, Jesse Cirimele, Kristen Leach, Jon Bassen. Past contributors: Justin Lee, Tonya Yu, Lahiru Jayatilaka, Wendy Mackay, Kyle Barrett, Katherine Chen. This research was made possible by the generous financial support of the NSF-sponsored POMI project and the Stanford DARE graduate fellowship.


We are fortunate to have a international group of advisors who provide the AIM lab with medical domain knowledge and expertise to enhance the development of our cognitive aids. We gratefully acknowledge these advisors, who include:

Neil Cowie, MD (Medical College at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada), Andrea J. Fuller, MD (University of Colorado, Denver) Viji Kurup, MD (Yale University), and Christine Park, MD (Northwestern University).

Stanford Anesthesia Cognitive Aid Group

While the Stanford AIM Lab primarily develops and studies its own cognitive aids, we do collaborate with the Stanford Anesthesia Cognitive Aid Group on certain activities and group publications. Dr. Larry Chu and Dr. Kyle Harrison are members of the group which includes Dr. David Gaba, Dr. Steven Howard and Dr. Sara Goldhaber-Fiebert.