Faculty Directory

Contact Information

Washburn Shops, 223
Phone: +1-508-831-5183

Sharon A. Johnson

I enjoy teaching at WPI because students bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to their learning, and I am often inspired by their optimism. My teaching also reflects topics that motivate me:  detailed process design in our Industrial Engineering program, improving healthcare delivery as part of the Health Systems Innovation certificate, and exploring the implications of operational excellence in our MBA program.  My research explores the impact of lean improvement methods in healthcare settings, as well as applying systems modeling approaches to design more effective healthcare delivery processes.  I am particularly interested in the opportunities created by information technologies to provide new types of data for operational decision making and to improve workflows and care delivery.  Recent projects have explored the effects of secure messaging on workflows, characterized work system structure in anti-coagulation clinics, and examined the implementation of electronic health record systems, including personal health records. I am a founding member of the Healthcare Delivery Institute (HDI), and currently serve on the Faculty Steering Committee.  My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the New England Veterans Engineering Resource Center.

Research Interests

  • Improving health care delivery processes
  • Effects of electronic health record (EHR) systems on care delivery
  • Capacity and demand modeling in healthcare systems
  • Lean process design
  • Process analysis and modeling


  • BS, University of Michigan, 1983
  • MS, Cornell University, 1986
  • PhD, Cornell University, 1989

Featured Publications

  • Pelletier, L., S. A. Johnson, E. Westrick, A. Krinsky, E. Fontaine, R. Klugman, “A Composite Model for Profiling Physicians across Domains of Care”, Journal of Healthcare Management, 59(3), May/June 2014.
  • Strong, D.M., O. Volkoff, S.A. Johnson, L. Pelletier, B. Tulu, I. Bar-On, L. Garber, J. Truedel, “A Theory of Clinic-EHR Affordance Actualization”, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 15(2), 53-85, 2014.
  • Pelletier, L., S. A. Johnson, E. Westrick, J. McBride, E. Fontaine, “Examining the Relationship Between Medical Home and Patient Satisfaction Outcomes”, Journal of the Society of Healthcare Improvement Professionals, Vol. 2 (March), 2013.
  • Ozkaynak, M., P. F. Brennan, D. A. Hanuer, S. A. Johnson, J. Aarts, K. Zheng, S. N. Haque, “Patient-Centered Care Requires a Patient-Oriented Workflow Model”, Journal of the American Medical Association, 20, e14-e16, 2013. Published Online First: 28 March 2013. PMID:  23538724.

Labs and Centers



Professional Highlights

  • President (2014-15) Health Systems Engineering Alliance (HSEA); President-Elect (2014-15) Lean Systems Division, Institute of Industrial Engineers
  • Tulu, B., D. Strong, D., S.A. Johnson, I. Bar-On, J. Trudel, L. Garber, "Personal Health Records: Identifying Utilization Patterns from System Use Logs and Patient Interviews", Proceedings of 45th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS- 45), January 4-7, 2012, Maui, Hawaii, 2012. (nominated for best paper award)
  • First Place in the American Society of Engineering Education IE Division Best Paper Award, for the he paper Teaching Lean Process Design Using a Discovery Approach (Johnson, Gerstenfeld, Zeng, Ramos, and Mishra). The award was presented after the June 2005 conference.
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