Debra, MD, FACG – Gastroenterologist


Intermittent Engager

Clinical Role


Strength of Evidence

Strength of Evidence Rating 5 out of 5


Human Factors Engineering (HFE), Office of Health Informatics, Veterans Health Administration

Debra, MD, FACG – Gastroenterologist




Debra is constantly on the move either working or embracing her healthy lifestyle. She relies on technology to allow her to extend her reach. When IT fails it can prove very disruptive.

Early 40s                                 

George E. Wahlen VAMC

Advanced tech skills         

Part-time teleworker

My Relationships

In the diagram above, individuals that are darker, larger and closer to Debra are more important to her than individuals that are smaller, lighter and farther away.

“I need to provide my patients with what they need as expeditiously as possible, therefore proper documentation from referring physicians and the patients is of utmost importance.”

My Job

  • Gastroenterologist, 9 years
  • Teleworker (on occasion)
  • Sees 11-15 patients/day in-person, both in- and outpatients; contacts more using phone
  • Gets requests for consults from other clinicians

My Devices & Technology Skills

  • Dell Laptop(Work Laptop)
  • Dell Precision Workstation (shared desktop in exam rooms)
  • ASUS Laptop (laptop at home)
  • Kindle Fire (for lower concentration tasks and reading)
  • iPod Touch (mini-tablet for her kids’ supervised use)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note (Smart phone)
  • Fitbit Charge (Fitness tracker)

Barriers & Enablers to Patient-Centered Care (PCC)

  • Don’t have the time
  • Don’t have the technology to support it
  • Is not able to participate in a PACT for her patients; support from peers enables interaction with other teams


  • Patient: Heavy phone and in person, no secure messaging,
  • Coworkers: Phone, CPRS notes (cosigners)

My Pain Points & Motivators

  • Too many alerts
  • Takes too long
  • Too many clicks or steps to get to features/information needed
  • Support my clinical decision-making
  • Improves my team collaboration.

My Narrative

Debra is a gastroenterologist at the George E. Wahlan VMAC in Salt Lake City, Utah. She joined the VA about nine years ago and plans to remain there for the foreseeable future. She adopts technology quickly and easily figures things out on her own. Her specialized skill set means that her engagement with patients is limited to treatments of gastrointestinal ailments and she often feels that she doesn’t have as much context about specific patients as she would like. Her patients are primarily referrals from other doctors. For this reason, she likes having access to patient generated data (PGD) when diagnosing and treating them. While she would value a more intimate knowledge of her patients, she feels that her time is better spent perfecting her diagnostic and surgical skills.

As a gastroenterologist, she understands the importance of staying healthy and puts a high emphasis on exercise and healthy eating, both for herself personally and for her patients. She uses a FitBit and smartphone apps to track her fitness. As an early adopter of technology, she gets frustrated with the VA’s slow and inefficient technology tools. She hopes that bureaucratic issues won’t get in the way of delivering solutions to her clinical decision making and collaboration needs.

Debra’s Components of Health and Proactive Well-being

This describes Debra’s relative health and well-being attitudes. 

In the diagram above, the relative width of the three outer bands and the
relative size and brightness of the eight inner circles represent their importance to Debra.

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