Building Usability into Health Informatics : Development and Evaluation of Information Systems for Shared Homecare

Abstract: How can we develop usable and work process-oriented ICT systems for shared homecare?Shared homecare involves different professionals, consists of mobile work and requires immediate and ubiquitous access to patient-oriented information, supporting an integrated view on the care process.This thesis presents a new collaborative design method for user needs analysis and requirements specification in the context of health information systems development; the Multi-disciplinary Thematic Seminar (MdTS) method. The thesis also describes the MdTS method’s application and two different usability evaluations of the developed system.The MdTS addresses a significant problem with health information technologies; they tend to support collaborative work of healthcare professionals poorly, sometimes leading to a fragmentation of workflow and disruption of healthcare processes. Based on human-computer interaction methods, MdTS implies a multiple-user needs analysis by thorough investigation of the entire interdisciplinary cooperative work and its transformation into technical specifications in order to develop appropriate information and communication technology (ICT) for the users’ differing work situations.Application of the MdTS resulted in a prototype, the [email protected] Virtual Health Record (VHR), adapted to the specific demands in shared homecare. Through mobile devices each care professional accessed patient information in profession-specific views from an integrated platform.This thesis provides an interesting case, illustrating how mobile ICT can support shared homecare, thereby bridging health and social care activities and improving knowledge about joint work processes.Results from the usability evaluations were overall positive. Information needed at point of care was available on mobile devices and presented in an understandable manner. However, the evaluations also indicated that it is difficult to transfer results from one homecare setting to another due to differences in operational routines.In conclusion, application of the MdTS method, in this study, succeeded in elicitation of correct user needs and in transferring correct requirements specifications to system developers for implementation.