Brian Hazlehurst, PhD


Brian Hazlehurst, PhD, is a cognitive anthropologist interested in the cognitive, social, cultural and technological properties of health and healthcare. His investigations include the study of care provider work practices and the needs of people with chronic illness, as well as the design and development of appropriate information-processing tools for these populations.

Recently, Dr. Hazlehurst has focused on informatics methods that enable access to clinical details about patients and their care, through use of natural language processing technologies. Much of the clinical data necessary for answering research questions is found in the text notes clinicians write when caring for patients. Dr. Hazlehurst’s team has successfully used Natural Language Processing (NLP) methods to unlock this clinical data from electronic medical records (EMRs).

Dr. Hazlehurst served as principal investigator of Enhancing Clinical Effectiveness Research with Natural Language Processing of Electronic Medical Records (CER Hub), an AHRQ grant that developed clinical infrastructure for using big data in support of multi-institution research. The project created a centralized website, CER Hub, where researchers could build software applications for processing their electronic clinical records, including both the text and coded data recorded in the EMR, creating standardized datasets that permit comparative effectiveness research across institutions.

Dr. Hazlehurst joined CHR as a Medical Informatics Investigator in the summer of 2001. Previously, he was chief scientist and director of research and informatics at WebMD, an Internet health care company. At WebMD he led the R&D effort focused on using the Internet to empower chronically ill people. His work included the design and development of information retrieval and knowledge-based systems, for which he received three U.S. patents. Dr. Hazlehurst received his PhD in cognitive science and anthropology from University of California, San Diego, in 1994. He holds an external clinical faculty appointment at the Division of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Oregon Health & Science University.

Selected Publications

  • CER Hub: An informatics platform for conducting comparative effectiveness research using multi-institutional, heterogeneous, electronic clinical data. Int J Med Inform. 2015; 84(10):763-73.
  • MediClass: A system for detecting and classifying encounter-based clinical events in any electronic medical record. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2005; 12(5):517-29.
  • Hazlehurst BL, Lawrence JM, Donohoo WT, Sherwood NE, Kurtz SE, Xu S, Steiner JF. Automating assessment of lifestyle counseling in electronic health records. Am J Prev Med 2014 May;46(5):457-64
  • Hazlehurst B, McBurnie MA, Mularski RA, Puro J, Chauvie S. Automating care quality measurement with health information technology. Am J Manag Care 2012 Jun;18(6):313-319.
  • Hazlehurst B, Sittig D, Stevens V, Smith KS, Hollis J, Vogt TM, Winickoff JP, Glasgow R, Palen TE, Rigotti NA. Natural language processing in the electronic medical record: Assessing clinicians' adherence to tobacco treatment guidelines. Amer J Prev Med 2005;29(5):434-439.
  • Hazlehurst B, Gorman PN. McMullen CK. Distributed cognition: An alternative model of cognition for medical informatics. Int J Med Inform 2008;77(4):226-34
  • Hazlehurst B, McMullen C, Gorman P, Sittig D. How the ICU follows orders: Care delivery as a complex activity system. AMIA Annu Symp Proc 2003:284-8.
  • Hazlehurst B, McMullen CK, Gorman PN. Distributed cognition in the Heart Room: How situation awareness arises from coordinated communications during cardiac surgery. J Biomed Inform 2007;40(5):539-51.