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Parker Lab

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Led by principal investigator Sarah Henrickson Parker, Ph.D., the Parker Lab conducts basic and translational research into the performance of teams in a crucial high-risk setting: health care. The laboratory is interdisciplinary and collaborative, with projects spanning numerous clinical domains – from the ICU to the operating room to the outpatient clinical practice – and disciplines, including medical, surgical and nursing. The lab strives to identify, evaluate, and disseminate evidence-based interventions to improve team performance at the front lines of patient care. To achieve this goal, the lab has three areas of focus: research, education, and front line staff integration. The Parker Lab is a partnership between Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and Carilion Clinic.

Using a range of methods from human factors, systems engineering, bioinformatics, computational modeling, industrial/organizational psychology, and implementation science, the Parker Laboratory studies clinical team performance during direct patient care and simulations to better understand complex work and patterns of performance that are indicative of excellent patient care. The goal is to integrate education, research, and front line staff to improve care for patients.

The Parker Lab aims to answer several questions, including:

  • What makes a good team good?
  • What does it take to make you change your behavior? Your friends or hearing data on the news?
  • Is giving people immediate feedback on their performance good or does it push them off a cliff?
  • Can we conduct individualized, real-time risk assessment for patients entering the hospital?

Meet the Lab