Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Qiping Zhang


Healthcare outcomes have been shown to improve when technology is used as part of patient care. Health Informatics (HI) is a multidisciplinary study of the design, development, adoption, and application of IT-based innovations in healthcare services delivery, management, and planning. Augmented Reality (AR) is an emerging technology that enhances the user’s perception and interaction with the real world. This study aims to illuminate the intersection of the field of AR and HI. The domains of AR and HI by themselves are areas of significant research. However, there is a scarcity of research on augmented reality as it applies to health informatics. Given both scholarly research and social media communication having contributed to the domains of AR and HI, research methodologies of bibliometric and content analysis on scholarly research and social media communication were employed to investigate the salient features and research fronts of the field. The study used Scopus data (7360 scholarly publications) to identify the bibliometric features and to perform content analysis of the identified research. The Altmetric database (an aggregator of data sources) was used to determine the social media communication for this field. The findings from this study included Publication Volumes, Top Authors, Affiliations, Subject Areas and Geographical Locations from scholarly publications as well as from a social media perspective. The highest cited 200 documents were used to determine the research fronts in scholarly publications. Content Analysis techniques were employed on the publication abstracts as a secondary technique to determine the research themes of the field. The study found the research frontiers in the scholarly communication included emerging AR technologies such as tracking and computer vision along with Surgical and Learning applications. There was a commonality between social media and scholarly communication themes from an applications perspective. In addition, social media themes included applications of AR in Healthcare Delivery, Clinical Studies and Mental Disorders. Europe as a geographic region dominates the research field with 50% of the articles and North America and Asia tie for second with 20% each. Publication volumes show a steep upward slope indicating continued research. Social Media communication is still in its infancy in terms of data extraction, however aggregators like Altmetric are helping to enhance the outcomes. The findings from the study revealed that the frontier research in AR has made an impact in the surgical and learning applications of HI and has the potential for other applications as new technologies are adopted.