Andrea Civan Hartzler, PhD

“I am passionate about promoting empowerment through the design of patient-centered technology that meets the information and communication needs of patients and health care stakeholders.”  

Andrea Civan Hartzler, PhD

Assistant Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute


Empowering patients to take an active role in their care is the overarching goal of Andrea Hartzler's research. Dr. Hartzler came to Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in 2014 with a PhD in Biomedical Informatics from the University of Washington (UW) and postdoctoral experience at the UW and Microsoft Research.

Dr. Hartzler promotes patient participation in health management through innovative tools such as interactive websites for patient-provider communication, algorithms to match cancer patients with peer mentors, and mobile apps that assist doctors in quickly responding to their patients' needs. To develop technical tools that are both visually appealing and functional, Dr. Hartzler uses human-centered design methods. She engages stakeholders—patients, providers, caregivers, and health system leaders—in participatory design processes that consider what users need and when and how they will interact with the technology. By focusing on the user experience, Dr. Hartzler develops intuitive tools that patients and providers want to make a part of their daily lives.

The products of Dr. Hartzler's research promote effective, personalized, satisfying communication between patients and their health care systems. They promote shared decision-making between doctors and patients, to ensure that care plans align with patients’ needs and preferences. They help people notice and improve the environmental, social, and behavioral conditions that influence their health. Her research reduces the barriers that patients face in interacting with health care systems by matching patient needs with the information, resources, and people that can meet them.

Dr. Hartzler's current research projects include:

  • Collaborating on the interdisciplinary Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) project, designing ways to deliver meaningful, actionable personal genetic information to patients;
  • Working with KPWHRI Associate Investigator James D. Ralston, MD, MPH on shared care plans for patients with multiple chronic conditions;
  • Helping KPWHRI Director of Research, Faculty and Development Jennifer McClure, PhD develop mobile tools to promote consistent medication use;
  • Contributing to work by KPWHRI Associate Investigator Beverly B. Green, MD, MPH on programs that help patients self-monitor their blood pressure;
  • Continuing collaborations with the UW Information School on building online communities for peer health support, with the UW School of Public Health on meeting health information needs of people transitioning into assisted living environments, and with the UW School of Medicine on patient-reported monitoring of postsurgery progress.



  • Health Informatics

    Personal health information management, patient expertise sharing, social computing in health, informatics support for personal genomics, stakeholder engagement in technology design, capture and display of patient-generated health data

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Collaborative approaches to transforming care, patient self-management support, patient-provider communication, patient-reported outcomes

  • Behavior Change

    Technical tools for self-tracking, self-management support, peer support, lifestyle interventions, mobile health technology


Recent publications

Park A, Hartzler AL, Huh J, Hsieh G, McDonald DW, Pratt W. "How did we get here?": topic drift in online health discussions. J Med Internet Res. 2016 Nov 2;18(11):e284. PubMed

Sanger PC, Simianu VV, Gaskill CE, Armstrong CAL, Hartzler AL, Lordon RJ, Lober WB, Evans HL. Diagnosing surgical site infection using wound photography: a scenario-based study. J Am Coll Surg. 2017 Jan;224(1):8-15.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.10.027. Epub 2016 Oct 14. PubMed

Sanger PC, van Ramshorst GH, Mercan E, Huang S, Hartzler AL, Armstrong CA, Lordon RJ, Lober WB, Evans HL. A prognostic model of surgical site infection using daily clinical wound assessment. J Am Coll Surg. 2016 May 14. pii: S1072-7515(16)30145-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jamcollsurg.2016.04.046. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Hartzler AL, Taylor MN, Park A, Griffiths T, Backonja U, McDonald DW, Wahbeh S, Brown C, Pratt W. Leveraging cues from person-generated health data for peer matching in online communities. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2016;23(3):496-507. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv175. Epub 2016 Feb 5. PubMed


Practicing Gratitude

Lessons in gratitude: Even small gestures can mean a lot

GHRI project manager Kelly Ehrlich always appreciated study participants’ contributions to research. Then she received a gift that reflects just how important it is to let them know.

Read it in Healthy Findings.

healthy findings blog

It’s your digital information—shouldn’t you decide who uses it and how?

In our daily lives, we generate a trail of personal data. Dr. Andrea Hartzler is making sure we have a say in how our data are used. 

Read it in Healthy Findings.

Related news

Is a picture worth 1,000 words if patients don’t understand it?

Graphic data displays, like on a Fitbit app, are meant to motivate patients to change behavior and understand their care. But do they work?

Read it in Healthy Findings.

KPWHRI In the Media

Health information technology

The delicate question of sharing medical information with adult children

The Wall Street Journal, Apr. 23, 2017

Selected publications


Hartzler AL, Taylor M, Park A, Griffiths T, Backonja U, McDonald DW, Wahbeh S, Brown C, Pratt W. Leveraging cues from person-generated health data for peer matching in online communities. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2016, in press.

Sanger P, Hartzler AL, Lordon RJ, Armstorng CAL, Lober WB, Evans HL, Pratt W. A patient-centered system in a provider-centered world: challenges of incorporating post-discharge wound data into practice. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2016, in press.

Hartzler A, Izard JP, Dalkin BL, Mikles S, Gore GL. Design and feasibility of integrating personalized PRO dashboards into prostate cancer care. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2016;23:38-47. PMID: 26260247


Hartzler A, McDonald DW, Park A, Huh J, Weaver C, Pratt W. Evaluating health interest profiles extracted from patient-generated data. In Proceedings of the AMIA Annual Fall Symposium (AMIA Annu Symp Proc). 2014: 626-635. PMID: 2595436

Hartzler AL, Chaudhuri S, Fey BC, Flum DR, Lavallee D. Integrating Patient-Reported Outcomes into Spine Surgical Care through Visual Dashboards: Lessons Learned from Human-Centered Design. eGEMs. 2015;3(2):1133. PMID: 25988187

Park A, Hartzler AL, Huh J, McDonald DW, Pratt W. Automatically detecting failures in natural language processing tools for online community text. J Med Internet Res 2015;17(8): e212. PMID: 26323337


Hartzler A, Wetter T. Engaging Patients through Mobile Phones: Demonstrator Services, Success Factors, and Future Opportunities in Low and Middle-income Countries. IMIA Yearbook (Yearb Med Inform). 2014; 9(1):182-194.

Hartzler A, Patel R, Czerwinski M, Chandrasekaran N, Pratt W, Roseway A, Back, A. Real-time feedback on nonverbal clinical communication: Theoretical framework and clinician acceptance of ambient visual design. Methods of Information in Medicine (Methods Inf Med). 2014; 53(5):389-405. PMID: 24970354.

Sanger PC, Hartzler A, Han SM, Armstrong AL, Stewart MR, Lordon RJ, Lober WB, Evans HL. Patient Perspectives on Post-Discharge Surgical Site Infections:Towards a Patient-Centered Mobile Health Solution. PLoS ONE 2014 9(12): e114016. PMID: PMC4250175.


Hartzler A, McCarty CA, Rasmussen LV, Williams MS, Brilliant M, Bowton EA, Clayton EW, Faucett WA, Ferryman K, Field JR, Fullerton SM, Horowitz CR, Keonig BA, McCormick JB, Ralston JD, Sanderson SC, Smith ME, Trinidad SB. Stakeholder engagement: A key component of integrating genomic information into electronic health records. Genetics in Medicine (Genet Med). 2013; 15(10):792-801. PMCID: PMC3909653.

Huh J, McDonald D, Hartzler A, Pratt W. Patient Moderator Interaction in Online Health Communities. In Proceedings of the AMIA Annual Fall Symposium (AMIA Annu Symp Proc). 2013: 627-36. PMCID: PMC3900205.


Anderson N, Bragg C, Hartzler A, Edwards K, Participant-Centric Initiatives: Tools to Facilitate Engagement. Applied &Translational Genomics 2012 1(1): 25-29. PMCID: PMC3998724.

Patel R, Klasnja P, Hartzler A, Unruh K, Pratt W. Probing the benefits of real-time tracking during cancer care. In Proceedings of the AMIA Annual Fall Symposium. (AMIA Annu Symp Proc). 2012: 1340-1349. PMCID: PMC3540467


Hartzler A, Pratt W. Managing the Personal Side of Health: How Patient Expertise Differs from the Expertise of Clinicians, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR), 2011;13(3):e62. doi:10.2196/jmir.1728. PMID: PMC3222167.

Hartzler A, Skeels MS, Mukai M,Powell C, Klasnja P, Pratt W. Sharing is caring, but not error free: Transparency of granular controls for sharing personal health information in social networks. In Proceedings of the AMIA Annual Fall Symposium (AMIA Annu Symp Proc). 2011; 2011:559-568. PMCID: PMC3243199.


Civan-Hartzler A, McDonald D, Powell C, Skeels M, Mukai M, Pratt W. Bringing the field into focus: User-centered design of a patient expertise locator. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI’10 (CHI Conf Proc). 2010:1675-1684. PMCID: PMC3019768.

Klasnja P, Civan-Hartzler A, Unruh K, Pratt W. Blowing in the wind: Unanchored Patient information work during cancer care. In Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI’10 (CHI Conf Proc). 2010: 193-202. PMCID: PMC2913511


Civan A, McDonald DW, Unruh KT, Pratt W. Locating Patient Expertise in Everyday Life. GROUP ACM SIGCHI Int Conf Support Group Work. 2009; 2009: 291–300. PMCID: PMC2955449.

Civan A, Pratt, W. Threading Together Patient Expertise. In Proceedings of the AMIA Annual Fall Symposium (AMIA Annu Symp Proc). 2007 Oct 11;140-144. PMCID: PMC2655889.

Civan A, Skeels M, Stolyar A, Pratt W. Personal Health Information Management: Consumers’ perspectives. AMIA Annual Symposium Proceedings (AMIA Annu Symp Proc). 2006; 156–160. PMCID: PMC1839450.