Abigail Wooldridge's directory photo.

Abigail Wooldridge

Assistant Professor

Primary Affiliation

Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering

Phone 300-8086



  • Biography

    Abigail Wooldridge is an assistant professor in the Department of Industrial & Enterprise Systems Engineering. Her primary affiliation is with Intelligence, Learning, and Plasticity. She is the assistant professor of other numerous departments: Computer Science, School of Information Sciences, Kinesiology and Community Health, Biomedical and Translational Sciences, Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, and Health Care Engineering Systems Center.


    • B.S., Summa Cum Laude, industrial engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, 2011

    • M.Eng. (with thesis), Summa Cum Laude, industrial engineering (operations research and applied statistics), University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, 2012

    • M.S., industrial and systems engineering (human factors and ergonomics), University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, 2013

    • Ph.D., industrial engineering, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, 2018

  • Honors
    • 2021: University of Illinois System’s Presidential Medallion

    • 2021: The Robert L. Wears Early Career Award, Healthcare Technical Group, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

    • 2020: Advancing Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice Through Human Systems Engineering recognized as Winner of the Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2020 Award

  • Research

    Research interests:

    • Patient journey

    • Patient safety

    • Care transitions

    • Teams

    • Team cognition

    Research areas:

    • Design and manufacturing

    • Health technology

    • Social, human, and engineering systems

    Professor Wooldridge's research addresses the design of complex sociotechnical systems, primarily in healthcare settings, using mixed methods approaches to improve outcomes. In healthcare, that means patient outcomes (e.g., patient safety, quality of care) as well as clinician outcomes (e.g., workload, burnout). She has conducted research focused on primary care, care coordination of patients with chronic conditions (hospital to community care transitions) and trauma care. Her dissertation, conducted in the context of a larger project developing health information technology to support teamwork and care transitions, took a macroergonomic approach to studying care transitions of trauma patients. She then examined on the handoff communication associated with those handoffs as instances of team cognition.

    Current projects include continuing to study care transitions; she plans to conduct observation studies of inpatient care transitions between hospital units as well as return to the community care setting by studying hospital discharge care transitions. Part of this work will explore the concept of the “patient journey,” i.e., spatio-temporal distribution of patients’ interactions with multiple care settings (e.g., hospitals, clinics, home, long-term care, etc.) over time. She plans to develop interventions, such as redesigned processes, new technologies, etc., to improve care transitions; this will involve participatory design processes and usability evaluations in her lab and/or simulated settings such as JUMP Simulation. A third area of research includes developing ways to measure team cognition, particular in care transitions. Key components of her research approach include engaging frontline workers (patients and their family as well as various healthcare professionals) and utilizing mixed methods, i.e., both qualitative and quantitative, research designs.

  • 2020

    • Carayon, P., & Wooldridge, A. R. (2020). Improving Patient Safety in the Patient Journey: Contributions from Human Factors Engineering. In A. E. Smith (Ed.), Women in Industrial and Systems Engineering: Key Advances and Perspectives on Emerging Topics (pp. 275-299). Cham: Springer International Publishing


    • Hose, B.-Z., Hoonakker, P. L. T., Wooldridge, A. R., Ross, J., Kohler, J., Brazelton, T., Eithun, B., Kelly, M., Dean, S., Rusy, D., Gurses, A., Feckler, J. & Carayon, P. (2019) Physicians’ Perceptions of the Problem List in Pediatric Trauma Care. Applied Clinical Informatics, 10(1):113-122.
    • Wooldridge, A. R., Carayon, P., Hoonakker, P. L. T., Hose, B.-Z., Ross, J., Kohler, J., Brazelton, T., Eithun, B., Kelly, M., Dean, S., Rusy, D., Durojaiye, A. & Gurses, A. P. (2019). Complexity of the Pediatric Trauma Care Process: Implications for Multi-Level Awareness. Cognition, Technology and Work, 21: 397-416. doi:10.1007/s10111-018-0520-0.


    • Carayon, P., Wooldridge, A. R., Hose, B.-Z., Salwei, M. & Benneyan, J. (2018) Improving Patient Safety Through Human Factors and Systems Engineering: Opportunities and Challenges. Health Affairs, 37(11), 1862-1869.
    • Wooldridge, A. R., Carayon, P., Eagan, B., & Shaffer, D. W. (2018). Quantifying the Qualitative with Epistemic Network Analysis: A Human Factors Case Study of Task-Allocation Communication in a Primary Care Team. IISE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering. DOI: 10.1080/24725579.2017.1418769


    • Wooldridge, A. R., Carayon, P., Hundt, A. S., & Hoonakker, P. L. T. (2017). SEIPS-based process modeling in primary care. Applied Ergonomics, 60, 240-254.


    • Carayon, P., Kianfar, S., Li, Y., & Wooldridge, A. (2015). Organizational design: Macroergonomics as a foundation for human systems integration. In D. A. Boehm-Davis, F. T. Durso & J. D. Lee (Eds.), APA Handbook of Human Systems Integration (1 ed., pp. pp.573-588). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
    • Carayon, P., Kianfar, S., Li, Y., Xie, A., Alyousef, B., & Wooldridge, A. (2015). A systematic review of mixed methods research on human factors and ergonomics in health care. Applied Ergonomics, 51, 291-321.