Welcome to the OBSERVER project

The goals of OBSERVER are to enable data science and ethnographic research methods to be applied to every aspect of the clinic visit impacting the provider (team), the EHR, the patient, and possibly the room itself. OBSERVER will leverage major advances that are taking place using each of its data sources throughout academia, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, and system interoperability allowing “add-ons” to electronic health records.

This project is complex and multidisciplinary—already involving faculty from engineering, health services research, informatics, medicine, and ethics. It will require addressing a series of questions in the short term. For this reason, we are assembling three advisory groups in the next year, while we build a prototype of OBSERVER using patient actors in our Simulation Center. Each of the advisory groups below will provide direction to address the following questions in the short term, and will evolve with us as we build this resource and test it throughout the Penn education and research communities:

Clinician Advisory Group

What are some potential issues that clinicians might have that need to be resolved in order for this project to be successful?

What would we like to see happen, and what may go wrong? 

Scientific Advisory Group

How do we balance the cost and scientific utility of various data collection approaches to create as equitable a model as possible?

What are some of the early pilot projects we should fund to test the value of OBSERVER?

Community Advisory Group

What are some of the concerns patients and families might have that need to be addressed for this project to succeed?

What are some of the ways this project can tangibly benefit the community?


Ethical, Legal, Social Advisory Group

What consent models will be necessary for providers and patients?

When/how should we address special populations, such as patients with cognitive impairment or minors?