Catalyze Innovation that Advances Health


Effective usability is critical to patient safety and physician satisfaction. That’s why a leading professional association for physicians and a leading human factors research team are working together to advance knowledge and understanding of EHR usability to improve the next generation of technology.

American Medical Association

The American MAMA Logoedical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation’s physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America. For more information, visit

National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare

The MedStar InstituteNCHFH Logo for Innovation and its National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare are dedicated to improving patient safety and quality through research and application. In their quest to make patient care the safest it can be, Human Factors researchers have done extensive work in the area of EHR usability and health information technology as well as other areas that are critical to improving care. Our annual report provides details on our efforts.

EHR Usability Framework Development Team

Raj Ratwani, PhD, Project Lead - Dr. Ratwani is the Scientific Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and is an Assistant Professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. Dr. Ratwani is an expert in human-computer interaction and is focused on improving the usability and safety of health information technology systems. He is the principal developer of the EHR User-centered Design Evaluation Framework. His research in the area of EHR usability and policy has been published in JAMA and he is currently the primary investigator on an AHRQ funded R01 award focused on improving EHR safety and usability. Dr. Ratwani holds a bachelor’s in cognitive science from the University of California, San Diego; a master’s and PhD in psychology/human factors/applied cognition from George Mason University. He was an Edwin A. Fleishman Dissertation Awardee, National Research Council post doctoral fellow at the Naval Research Laboratory.

Michael Hodgkins, MD, MPH- Dr. Hodgkins is a Vice President and the Chief Medical Information Officer at the American Medical Association. He is a seasoned physician executive with more than 25 years’ experience in health services, clinical connectivity and e-business solutions. In his current role, he provides leadership and expertise in developing new products and services, AMA’s strategy for digital health and medicine and EHR policy. Dr. Hodgkins completed a residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in General Internal Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco where he was previously Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology. He has a background in health planning and policy analysis and his ongoing interests include the design, development and implementation of technology-based solutions and services to meet the needs of the evolving health care market.

A. Zachary Hettinger, MD, MS- Dr. Hettinger is the Medical Director for the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare. He has significant experience in AHRQ, NIH, ONC, and other funded research applying human factors methods to adverse event analysis and health IT usability and safety. Dr. Hettinger completed a research fellowship at the University of Rochester, holds a master’s degree in clinical investigation and is dual board certified in emergency medicine and clinical informatics. He has expertise in health IT systems and has focused his research in data visualization, human-computer interaction, health IT safety. Dr. Hettinger is Assistant Professor of emergency medicine at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and a practicing emergency physician at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital.

Matt Reid, MS-Mr. Reid is a Senior Health Information Technology Consultant at the American Medical Association. He brings over 12 years of health IT implementation and technical experience to the AMA's advocacy efforts.  Before coming to the AMA, Mr. Reid worked as the director of IT for a large specialty medical practice where he managed the IT operations across multiple medical facilities. Since starting at the AMA, Mr. Reid has been directly involved with the association's efforts to reduce the Meaningful Use burden on physicians and to improve the overall usability of health IT. Mr. Reid holds a masters in medical informatics from Northwestern University.

Rollin J. (Terry) Fairbanks, MD, MS- Dr. Fairbanks is the Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and the MedStar Simulation Training & Education Lab. He is also Associate Professor of emergency medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine and an attending emergency physician at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. Dr. Fairbanks holds an advanced degree in human factors engineering/industrial systems engineering from Virginia Tech and uses this background to apply safety engineering techniques and research methodology to medical systems. He has received funding for patient safety-related research from the NIH, AHRQ, industry, and several foundations including the Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Foundation and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor of industrial systems engineering, University at Buffalo

Natalie Benda, MS, Senior Research Fellow– Ms. Benda is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and is a Doctoral Student in the school of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University at Buffalo. Ms. Benda’ work focuses on improving the design of health information technology systems as well as leveraging these systems to support the delivery of safer more efficient patient care. She has served as an investigator on projects funded by AHRQ and the ONC centered around health IT usability and design. Ms. Benda holds a bachelor’s of science in industrial engineering from Purdue University and a masters in industrial engineering from the University at Buffalo. She is an awardee of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program from the National Science Foundation.

Allison Kosydar, BS, Research Assistant – Ms. Kosydar is a Research Assistant at the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare and a Graduate Student at George Mason University where she is pursuing a master’s degree in human factors. She received a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering and a minor in psychology from Drexel University. While at Drexel, she completed three co-op assignments performing failure analysis consulting for a broad range of medical devices.