Behavioral Informatics


The growing collection of consumer and clinical-facing devices and technologies has created unprecedented opportunities to improve the health of individuals and populations. Consumer and patient-centric information sharing, technology-mediated communication, care coordination, and behavior change are examples of health-related outcomes for which technologies play a role in health and well-being. HCIRB’s focus on behavioral informatics incorporates an emphasis on the use of these technologies by consumers and patients, caregivers, and health care providers. Researchers also are examining the design, implementation, and evaluation of behavioral interventions delivered by advanced technologies, analytics, and platforms for cancer care. In an era of connected health applications, researchers are adding wearable technologies, in-home sensors, telemedicine channels, patient portals, and mobile health channels to the range of study targets in behavioral informatics.

Priorities in Behavioral Informatics

  • How can we leverage communication and behavioral science to achieve the “Triple Aim” of care systems: (a) to improve patient experience, (b) reduce per capita costs, and (c) to improve population health?
  • How can we craft a health services environment that optimizes technology-mediated communication between patients and their care networks (including families, friends, and healthcare providers)?

Current and Past Projects

SEER Rapid Response Surveillance Study on Patient Generated Health Data

HCIRB is helping to provide technical oversight for a series of pilot studies funded through the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program that seek to identify promising methodologies for collecting patient generated health data (PGHD) as a complement to traditional SEER registry data. The four projects that are part of this initiative focus on the collection of data related to patients’ personal experiences in adhering to prescribed treatment regimens.

Smart and Connected Health

This joint NSF-NIH program seeks to accelerate the development and use of next generation health care solutions by funding high-risk, high-reward efforts in a variety of areas, including information science, technology, behavior, cognition, sensors, robotics, bioimaging, and engineering.

There are currently three Smart and Connected Health projects in the HCIRB portfolio:

Reports and Publications

President’s Cancer Panel (2016). Connected Health in Cancer Care. Report available at

Hesse, B. W., Ahern, D. K., & Beckjord, E. (Eds.). (2016). Oncology Informatics: Using Health Information Technology to Improve Processes and Outcomes in Cancer exit disclaimer. Boston, MA: Elsevier.

Special Supplement: Abernethy, Hesse, Spring (eds.). Information Technology and Evidence Implementation exit disclaimer. Translational Behavioral Medicine. March 2011

Special Supplement: Shaikh, Prabhu Das, Vinson, Spring (eds.). Cyberinfrastructure for Consumer Health exit disclaimer. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. April 2011.

Funding for Behavioral Informatics