Yalini Senathirajah, PhD

Associate Investigator, Department of Medicine, Northwell Health

Phone: (516) 321-8117
Email: ysenathira@northwell.edu

About the Investigator

Dr. Yalini Senathirajah has extensive experience with web technologies and the use of technology for health interventions, having served in several research-oriented webmaster positions including five years as webmaster of the Columbia University Health Sciences campus, where she created/managed a large consumer-oriented health website and numerous other applications in support of research, education and patient care.

Her research interests include clinical and public health informatics, including development of a novel user-composable electronic health record platform and research on its effects on medical cognition, human-computer interaction/efficiency, and system development.

Other interests include health disparities, interface design, the use of web technologies and mobile computing for medicine and health promotion (particularly in underserved populations), global health, and the effects of technology on social networks and health. Her earlier biology work concentrated in environmental physiology (physiologic adaptations of organisms to extreme environments). She also has an interest in fostering innovation in health IT and research.

She holds an AB in Biology from Harvard University, studied veterinary medicine at Ontario Veterinary College and holds a PhD in biomedical informatics from Columbia University.

Research Focus

Dr. Senathirajah’s primary research focus is on testing new approaches to improving the design of electronic health records, including their usability and control by the clinician. She has an R01 grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to examine how composable approaches can potentially increase safety, fit to task, efficiency, and cognitive support for clinicians. Other areas of research interests are in creating digital tools to improve the health of the underserved and minority/multilingual communities, mobile health, and global health. She also has interests in open source software approaches, human rights, and civil society.

Lab Members

Elizabeth Borycki, University of Victoria
Kenrick Cato, Columbia University
Andre Kushniruk, University of Victoria
Upasana Malik, Downstate Medical Center
Inkeri Saiku, Cornell University
Jinglu Wang, Cornell University


Columbia University
Degree: PhD
Field of Study: Biomedical Informatics

Ontario Veterinary College
Field of Study: Veterinary Medicine

Harvard University
Degree: AB
Field of Study: Biology

Awards & Honors

2015 Two papers mentioned in American Medical Informatics Association Year in Review
2014 Finalist, ‘Ideas that Work’ International Innovation competition, American Medical Informatics Association
2013 Ariadne award, winning team at Brigham/MIT medical hackathon, Twiage ‘app’ for EMT services
2013 Best paper award, Context-Sensitive Health Informatics international meeting, MedInfo

  1. Vision paper: “Important Ingredients for Health Adaptive Information Systems.”  Senathirajah, Y., Bakken, S.  Medical Informatics Europe, Oslo, Norway, 2011.
  2. “The Clinician in the Driver’s Seat: Part 1 – A User-composable Electronic Health Record Platform.” Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Senathirajah, Y, Kaufman, D, Bakken S. Nov/Dec 2014 doi:10.1016/j.jbi.2014.09.002.
  3. “Clinician in the Driver’s Seat: Part 2 – Intelligent Uses of Space in a Drag/drop User-composable Electronic Health Record.” Senathirajah, Y, Kaufman, D, Bakken S. Journal of Biomedical Informatics, Nov/Dec 2014.
  4. “Essential Questions: Accuracy, errors and user perceptions in a drag/drop user-composable Electronic Health Record.”  Senathirajah Y, Kaufman D, Bakken S.  Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013;194:181-7.  (Medinfo preconference paper award).
  5. “The Clinician in the Driver’s Seat – Cognition and Interaction in MedWISE.” Senathirajah, Y., Kaufman, D., Bakken, S.  AMIA 2012
  6. “Architectural and usability considerations in the development of a web 2.0-based EHR.” Senathirajah Y, Bakken S. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2009;143:315-21.
  7. “Cognitive analysis of a highly configurable web 2.0 EHR interface.” Senathirajah Y, Kaufman, D., Bakken S.  Paper, AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2010:732-736.
  8. “Visual Clustering Analysis of CIS Logfiles to Inform Creation of a User-configurable Web 2.0 CIS Interface.” Senathirajah Y, Bakken S. Methods of Information in Medicine. 2010.
  9. “Logfile analysis of CIS use to inform creation of a user-configurable widget-based web 2.0 CIS interface: a feasibility study.” Senathirajah Y, Bakken S. Paper, AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2009.
  10. “MedWISE: clinical mashups development.” Senathirajah Y, Bakken S.  Poster,  AMIA Annu Symp Proc.  2009.
  11. “Applying mixed methods to examine usability of a web 2.0-based EHR.” Senathirajah Y, Bakken S.  Poster, AMIA Spring Congress 2009. (Practice-based research track).
  12. “Development of user-configurable information source pages for medical information retrieval.” Senathirajah Y, Bakken S. AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2007 Oct 11:1109.PMID: 18694206

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