Studies of patient safety have identified gaps in current work including the need for research about communication and information sharing among health care providers. They have also encouraged the use of decision support tools to improve human performance. Distributed cognition is the shared awareness of goals, plans, and details that no single individual grasps. Cognitive artifacts are objects such as schedules, display boards, lists, and worksheets that form part of a distributed cognition. Cognitive artifacts including the Availabilities Sheet, Master Schedule, Operating Room (OR) Graph and OR Board provide a "way in" to understand how acute care teams plan and manage the balance between care demands and staff resources. This work has import for the way that medical informatics supports the organization, management, and use of health care information through software and computing systems. Better digital cognitive artifacts will benefit team work processes, planning, communications, resource management and, by extension, patient safety.