Elizabeth D. Mynatt, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Institute for People and Technology
Georgia Tech



Transforming healthcare from a reactive, transaction and disease-oriented system into a proactive, patient-centered and outcome-oriented system is one of the great societal challenges in the 21st century.  Many have argued that the current healthcare system in the US and abroad is brittle, siloed, and generally unresponsive to the modern healthcare challenges in chronic disease management and prevention.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the current system of healthcare delivery is also too expensive and the cost curve continues to increase.

Government and industry advocates have invested substantial resources into the implementation of new healthcare technologies focused on the implementation of electronic healthcare records (EHRs and  healthcare exchange (HIE) with the intent of creating a foundation for “meaningful use” in patient-centered care.

The outcome of these investments is not yet known.  However it is certain that these investments alone will fail in transforming healthcare into a proactive, patient-centered and outcome oriented system.

In this talk, I will ask our research community, “What is our role in transforming healthcare?”  Healthcare is a complex adaptive system.  What inputs must we provide to catalyze systemic change?  I will argue that we must create a transformational and translational research foundation that establishes techniques for effective patient engagement and creates an open platform for “application” innovation.  We must provide tools for simulating and visualizing new healthcare systems.  Finally we need to orient our research to this new ecosystem where research and practice are integrated to create a complex, adaptive learning system.


Elizabeth D. Mynatt is the Executive Director of the GT Institute for People and Technology, and Professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research program Everyday Computing examines the human-computer interface implications of having computation continuously present in many aspects of everyday life.  Her research contributes to ongoing work in personal health informatics, computer-supported collaborative work and human-computer interface design.  Named Top Woman Innovator in Technology by Atlanta Woman Magazine in 2005, Mynatt has created new technologies that support the independence and quality of life of older adults “aging in place,” that help people manage diabetes, and that increase creative collaboration in workplaces.

From 2005 – 2010, Mynatt directed the GVU Center at Georgia Tech.  This internationally recognized interdisciplinary research organization brings together over 70 faculty at Georgia Tech with the mission to “unlock human potential through technical innovation.”  By working with a broad range of industry partners, GVU researchers engage difficult societal challenges and marketplace uncertainties with leadership and expertise in computing, engineering, design, science, art and the humanities. Mynatt is a member of the SIGCHI Academy, a Sloan and Kavli research fellow, and serves on Microsoft Research’s Technical Advisory Board.

Mynatt is also a member of the Computing Community Consortium, an NSF-sponsored effort to engage the computing research community in envisioning more audacious research challenges. She has published more than 100 scientific papers and chaired the CHI 2010 conference, the premier international conference in human-computer interaction. Prior to joining the Georgia Tech faculty in 1998, she was a member of the research staff at Xerox PARC, working with the founder of ubiquitous computing, Mark Weiser.

William W. Stead, M.D.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and  Chief Strategy and Information Officer
Vanderbilt University Medical Center



Policy makers call for adoption of Health IT.  They expect the technology to help people access data and knowledge, make sense of it, make the right decisions and carry out the resulting plans flawlessly.  Dr. Stead will use a vignette to contrast today’s workflow and decision making process to a vision for 21st century health care.  He will posit that this vision calls for a re-conceptualization of the purpose of Health IT to one of bringing people and machines together as systems of brains.  He will call for expansion of the human in human-computer interaction from one person, one brain, to systems of brains.  This expansion in turn calls for new bio-socio-computational models spanning a holistic approach to the individual; adaption to learning styles and literacy; knowledge extraction and management; data mining and information abstraction; visualization; and evaluation of the system as a whole.


Dr. Stead is Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and  Chief Strategy and Information Officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  He also serves as Chief Information Architect for the University and as Director of the Informatics Center.  The Informatics Center is a unique blend of the units that manage the medical center’s information technology infrastructure, the Department of Biomedical Informatics of the School of Medicine (research and education), the Eskind Biomedical Library (knowledge management), and the Center for Better Health (accelerating change).

Dr. Stead received his B.A. and M.D. from Duke University where he also completed specialty and subspecialty training Internal Medicine and Nephrology. As an undergraduate in the 1960s, he was a member of the team that developed the Cardiology Databank, one of the first clinical epidemiology projects to change practice by linking outcomes to process. As a faculty member in Nephrology, he was the physician in the physician-engineer partnership that developed The Medical Record (TMR), one of the first practical electronic medical record systems. He helped Duke build one of the first patient-centered hospital information systems (IBM’s PCS/ASDS). He came to Vanderbilt in 1991 to work out how to link information into workflow to help people make better decisions at an enterprise scale. His team has shown how to translate techniques from the science of biomedical informatics into novel approaches to information infrastructure that reduce cost to implement and barriers to adoption. The resulting enterprise-wide electronic patient chart and communication/decision support tools support his current focus on system-supported, evidence-based practice and research leading toward personalized medicine.

Dr. Stead is McKesson Foundation Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Medicine. He is a Founding Fellow of both the American College of Medical Informatics and the American Institute for Engineering in Biology and Medicine, and an elected member of both the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and the American Clinical and Climatological Association. He was the first recipient of the Lindberg Award for Innovation in Informatics and the 2007 recipient of the Collen Award for Excellence in Medical Informatics. He was the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, and served as President of the American Association for Medical Systems and Informatics and the American College of Medical Informatics. He served as Chairman of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine, as a Presidential appointee to the Commission on Systemic Interoperability, and as Chair of the National Research Council Committee on Engaging the Computer Science Research Community in Health Care Informatics. He is a member of the Council of the Institute of Medicine.

In addition to his academic and advisory responsibilities, Dr. Stead is a Director of HealthStream.


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