Dr. Y.-L. Betty Chang
Health System Impact Fellow Profile

Y.-L. Betty Chang
Host Partner Organization:
North York General Hospital
Name of Host Partner Organization Supervisor:
Dr. Donna McRitchie
Location (city, province):
Toronto, ON
Academic Institution:
University of Toronto
Name of Academic Supervisor:
Dr. Patricia Trbovich
Title of Fellowship / Program of Work:
Improving patient safety in operating rooms
Contact Information:
Website: www.bettychang.net/;
Social media page(s): LinkedIn: Betty Chang


I am passionate about improving people’s work, lives, and play through technology, especially in supporting collaboration. My PhD was in the areas of human factors and human-computer interaction, specifically in computer-supported cooperative work. I investigated ways to improve users’ awareness of each other and of the situation when they collaborate over computer systems such as digital tabletops and multi-device environments. My projects spanned different contexts including police emergency response, digital tabletop strategy games, time-critical video games, and multi-device classrooms. They resulted in academic and commercial impacts as shown through my publications, awards, and software release. Personally, I found the practical impacts I have made in the end-users’ lives to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of the projects. Thus, I decided to pursue the Health System Impact Fellowship in the hope of making practical contributions to patient safety through my expertise in human factors and computer science.

Fellowship Program of Work

My Health System Impact Fellowship is under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Trbovich (University of Toronto) and Dr. Donna McRitchie (North York General Hospital). The primary goal of the fellowship is to improve patient safety in operating rooms, which represent one of the most complex, high-risk clinical settings. Surgical cases require a team of interdependent clinicians with different roles and expertise to collaborate in an environment with uncertainty and unpredictability.  Given such a complex system of people and technology, this project aims to identify and understand factors that contribute to patient safety such as safety threats, technology, environment setup, and teamwork. Furthermore, while most of the existing research and practices focus on the negative outcomes such as accidents and errors, we would like to learn from what goes right. In operating rooms, the clinicians’ behavioural and cognitive processes are highly adaptive to the situation at hand in order to expeditiously provide adequate care to patients. By study their remarkable resiliency, this project seeks to understand clinicians’ adaptive behaviours and gain insights into the design of tools, workflow, and environment to support their ever-changing work. The lessons learned from this research will provide valuable design implications applicable beyond my host institute to operating rooms in other organizations.

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