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Robert H. Friedman, MD

Professor of Medicine & Chief, MISU

Education:Stanford University School of Medicine

General field of research:


Affiliations other than medicine:

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research
Boston Medical Center MISU

Contact information:

Crosstown Building
Phone: 617-638-7580



informatics, telehealth, disease management, lifestyle programs

Summary of research interest:

Robert H. Friedman, M.D. is Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Boston University and Boston Medical Center in the U.S.A.  He is Chief of the Medical Information Systems Unit in the Department of Medicine of these institutions where he directs a research group of 39 individuals.

His laboratory is considered one of the leaders in the world in the useful application of computer and telecommunications technology to the direct delivery of health services that emulate care provided by health professionals.

His research is at the interface between information technology and clinical medicine/public health and is focused on design and evaluation of totally automated systems that deliver health and human services, helping both health professionals and patients.  These systems promote evidence-based screening for breast and colon cancer, screen patients for risky personal behaviors such as problem drinking, monitor the disease status of patients with chronic disease, promote optimal patient self-care such as taking medications as prescribed, and modify important behavioral risk factors for disease such as cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and dietary behavior.  Evaluation of these systems have demonstrated clinical efficacy and both patient and provider acceptance and satisfaction.

Current work focuses on the further development of enabling technologies and their application to such health conditions as hypertension, angina, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease, asthma, and depression and for patients with multiple chronic diseases, and for targeting such important health behaviors as medication-taking, exercise, diet, cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption.  Dr.  Friedman is particularly interested in how such systems can be integrated into usual medical and public health practice, and in studying human factors involved in their use.  To these ends, he is studying the dissemination of these systems into usual general medical practice.  Dr. Friedman has promoted the adaptation of his systems for use and evaluation in Australia.  He has partnered with Dr. Brian Oldenburg and his colleagues at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane to develop programs that promote an active lifestyle for sedentary Australians, and for assisting in the care of diabetes patients.  Dr. Friedman has authored almost one hundred scholarly papers on these subjects.

Recent publications:

Farzanfar R, Frishkopf S, Friedman R, Ludena K. Evaluating an automated mental care system: making meaning of human-computer interaction. Computers in Human Behavior. 2007; 23:1167-1182.

Farzanfar R, Stevens A, Vachon L, Friedman R, Locke S. Design and Development of a Workplace Mental Health Assessment and Intervention System. Journal of Medical Systems. 2007; 31: 49-62.

King AC, Friedman RH, Marcus B, Castro C, Napolitano M, Ahn D, Baker L. Ongoing physical activity advice by humans versus computers: The Community Health Advice by Telephone (CHAT) Trial. Health Psychology 2007, 26(6): 718-727.

Velicer, WF, Friedman, R, Redding, C, Migneault, J, Hoeppner, B, & Prochaska, J. Project Health: Comparing modular and integrated approaches in a multiple risk factor intervention. Health Psychology Review, 1, (Supp. 1), 258; 2007 (Abstract)