What are Cognitive Aids?

Sometimes called “checklists”, we think of cognitive aids in medicine as structured pieces of information designed to enhance cognition and adherence to medical best practices. The format of the information in a cognitive aid can be as simple as a piece of paper with a written reminder, to something as complicated an interactive and dynamically-changing computer-driven interface.

The goal of our Cognitive Aids in Medicine research group is to explore how to best design and measure the impact of the use of cognitive aids in medicine. We are focusing our initial efforts on high-stakes medical interventions that we believe would most likely benefit from aiding cognition: critical events in medicine.

Example of Static Cognitive Aids in Medicine


Our earlier cognitive aid work has also been published in the Manual of Clinical Anesthesiology by Chu and Fuller, 2011.

Interactive Computer-Generated Cognitive Aids

Leslie Wu, Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Stanford presents the group’s work in interactive cognitive aids at Stanford Medicine X 2012.

Example of Static Paper-based Cognitive Aids in Critical Events in Anesthesia

Here is an example of how static paper-based cognitive aids can be used during a medical crisis to assist a medical team in patient care.

Development of Interactive Cognitive Aids for Critical Events

Here’s an example from Kyle Barrett and Katherine Chen, two interns who worked with our group this summer on the design process for our interactive cognitive aid project. Katherine and Kyle won the UXWeek scholarship!

From Cognitive Aid to Resource Management

Jesse Ciremele from our HCI group collaboration discusses the design process that led us from cognitive aids to resource management at Medicine 2.0 ’11 at Stanford University.


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