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JMIR Human Factors

Making health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective

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Journal Description

JMIR Human Factors (JHF) is a PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed sister journal of JMIR, a leading open access eHealth journal  (Impact Factor 2016: 5.175).
JMIR Human Factors is a multidisciplinary journal with contributions from medical researchers, engineers, and social scientists.
JMIR Human Factors focuses on understanding how the behaviour and thinking of humans can influence and shape the design of health care interventions and technologies, and how the design can be evaluated and improved to make health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective. JHF aspires to lead health care towards a culture of testing and safety by promoting and publishing reports rigorously evaluating the usability and human factors aspects in health care, as well as encouraging the development and debate on new methods in this emerging field. 
All articles are professionally copyedited and typeset, ready for indexing in PubMed/PubMed Central. Possible contributions include usability studies and heuristic evaluations, studies concerning ergonomics and error prevention, design studies for medical devices and healthcare systems/workflows, enhancing teamwork through Human Factors based teamwork training, measuring non-technical skills in staff like leadership, communication, situational awareness and teamwork, and healthcare policies and procedures to reduce errors and increase safety. Reviews, viewpoint papers and tutorials are as welcome as original research.

Editorial Board members are currently being recruited, please contact us if you are interested (jmir.editorial.office at gmail.com).

 
 
 
 

Recent Articles:

  • MIK application (montage). Source: The Authors / Can Stock Photo Inc; Copyright: The Authors / Andrey Popov; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2018/1/e7/; License: Licensed by the authors.

    How Health Care Professionals Evaluate a Digital Intervention to Improve Medication Adherence: Qualitative Exploratory Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Medication nonadherence poses a serious and a hard-to-tackle problem for many chronic diseases. Electronic health (eHealth) apps that foster patient engagement and shared decision making (SDM) may be a novel approach to improve medication adherence. Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the perspective of health care professionals regarding a newly developed digital app aimed to improve medication adherence. Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) was chosen as a case example. Methods: A Web-based prototype of the eHealth app—MIK—was codesigned with patients and health care professionals. After user tests with patients, we performed semistructured interviews and user tests with 12 physicians from 6 different hospitals to examine how the functionalities offered by MIK could assist physicians in their consultation and how they could be integrated into daily clinical practice. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify themes that covered the physicians’ evaluations. Results: On the basis of the interview data, 3 themes were identified, which were (1) perceived impact on patient-physician collaboration; (2) perceived impact on the patient’s understanding and self-management regarding medication adherence; and (3) perceived impact on clinical decisions and workflow. Conclusions: The eHealth app MIK seems to have the potential to improve the consultation between the patient and the physician in terms of collaboration and patient engagement. The impact of eHealth apps based on the concept of SDM for improving medication-taking behavior and clinical outcomes is yet to be evaluated. Insights will be useful for further development of eHealth apps aimed at improving self-management by means of patient engagement and SDM.

  • Woman utilizing eHealth literacy to retrieve online health information. Source: Pexels; Copyright: Porapak Apichodilok; URL: https://www.pexels.com/photo/blur-cellphone-close-up-device-377718/; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Three-Factor Structure of the eHealth Literacy Scale Among Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Computed Tomography Outpatients: A Confirmatory Factor Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Electronic health (eHealth) literacy is needed to effectively engage with Web-based health resources. The 8-item eHealth literacy scale (eHEALS) is a commonly used self-report measure of eHealth literacy. Accumulated evidence has suggested that the eHEALS is unidimensional. However, a recent study by Sudbury-Riley and colleagues suggested that a theoretically-informed three-factor model fit better than a one-factor model. The 3 factors identified were awareness (2 items), skills (3 items), and evaluate (3 items). It is important to determine whether these findings can be replicated in other populations. Objective: The aim of this cross-sectional study was to verify the three-factor eHEALS structure among magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) medical imaging outpatients. Methods: MRI and CT outpatients were recruited consecutively in the waiting room of one major public hospital. Participants self-completed a touchscreen computer survey, assessing their sociodemographic, scan, and internet use characteristics. The eHEALS was administered to internet users, and the three-factor structure was tested using structural equation modeling. Results: Of 405 invited patients, 87.4% (354/405) were interested in participating in the study, and of these, 75.7% (268/354) were eligible. Of the eligible participants, 95.5% (256/268) completed all eHEALS items. Factor loadings were 0.80 to 0.94 and statistically significant (P<.001). All reliability measures were acceptable (indicator reliability: awareness=.71-.89, skills=.78-.80, evaluate=.64-.79; composite reliability: awareness=.89, skills=.92, evaluate=.89; variance extracted estimates: awareness=.80, skills=.79, evaluate=.72). Two out of three goodness-of-fit indices were adequate (standardized root mean square residual (SRMR)=.038; comparative fit index (CFI)=.944; root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)=.156). Item 3 was removed because of its significant correlation with item 2 (Lagrange multiplier [LM] estimate 104.02; P<.001) and high loading on 2 factors (LM estimate 91.11; P<.001). All 3 indices of the resulting 7-item model indicated goodness of fit (χ211=11.3; SRMR=.013; CFI=.999; RMSEA=.011). Conclusions: The three-factor eHEALS structure was supported in this sample of MRI and CT medical imaging outpatients. Although further factorial validation studies are needed, these 3 scale factors may be used to identify individuals who could benefit from interventions to improve eHealth literacy awareness, skill, and evaluation competencies.

  • An elderly woman using social media. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: Hadi Daneshvar; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2018/1/e5/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    How Can Social Media Lead to Co-Production (Co-Delivery) of New Services for the Elderly Population? A Qualitative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: The future of health care services in the European Union faces the triple challenges of aging, fiscal restriction, and inclusion. Co-production offers ways to manage informal care resources to help them cater for the growing needs of elderly people. Social media (SM) is seen as a critical enabler for co-production. Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate how SM—private Facebook groups, forums, Twitter, and blogging—acts as an enabler of co-production in health and care by facilitating its four underlying principles: equality, diversity, accessibility, and reciprocity. Methods: We used normalization process theory as our theoretical framework to design this study. We conducted a qualitative study and collected data through 20 semistructured interviews and observation of the activities of 10 online groups and individuals. We then used thematic analysis and drew on principles of co-production (equality, diversity, accessibility, and reciprocity) as a deductive coding framework to analyze our findings. Results: Our findings point to distinct patterns of feature use by different people involved in care of elderly people. This diversity makes possible the principles of co-production by offering equality among users, enabling diversity of use, making experiences accessible, and encouraging reciprocity in the sharing of knowledge and mutual support. We also identified that explication of common resources may lead to new forms of competition and conflicts. These conflicts require better management to enhance the coordination of the common pool of resources. Conclusions: SM uses afford new forms of organizing and collective engagement between patients, carers, and professionals, which leads to change in health and care communication and coordination.

  • Screensharing during medication reconciliation. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2018/1/e4/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Reducing Misses and Near Misses Related to Multitasking on the Electronic Health Record: Observational Study and Qualitative Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Clinicians’ use of electronic health record (EHR) systems while multitasking may increase the risk of making errors, but silent EHR system use may lower patient satisfaction. Delaying EHR system use until after patient visits may increase clinicians’ EHR workload, stress, and burnout. Objective: We aimed to describe the perspectives of clinicians, educators, administrators, and researchers about misses and near misses that they felt were related to clinician multitasking while using EHR systems. Methods: This observational study was a thematic analysis of perspectives elicited from 63 continuing medical education (CME) participants during 2 workshops and 1 interactive lecture about challenges and strategies for relationship-centered communication during clinician EHR system use. The workshop elicited reflection about memorable times when multitasking EHR use was associated with “misses” (errors that were not caught at the time) or “near misses” (mistakes that were caught before leading to errors). We conducted qualitative analysis using an editing analysis style to identify codes and then select representative themes and quotes. Results: All workshop participants shared stories of misses or near misses in EHR system ordering and documentation or patient-clinician communication, wondering about “misses we don’t even know about.” Risk factors included the computer’s position, EHR system usability, note content and style, information overload, problematic workflows, systems issues, and provider and patient communication behaviors and expectations. Strategies to reduce multitasking EHR system misses included clinician transparency when needing silent EHR system use (eg, for prescribing), narrating EHR system use, patient activation during EHR system use, adapting visit organization and workflow, improving EHR system design, and improving team support and systems. Conclusions: CME participants shared numerous stories of errors and near misses in EHR tasks and communication that they felt related to EHR multitasking. However, they brainstormed diverse strategies for using EHR systems safely while preserving patient relationships.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Public Domain Pictures; URL: https://www.pexels.com/photo/active-bikes-cyclist-elderly-264073/; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    VA FitHeart, a Mobile App for Cardiac Rehabilitation: Usability Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) improves outcomes for patients with ischemic heart disease or heart failure but is underused. New strategies to improve access to and engagement in CR are needed. There is considerable interest in technology-facilitated home CR. However, little is known about patient acceptance and use of mobile technology for CR. Objective: The aim of this study was to develop a mobile app for technology-facilitated home CR and seek to determine its usability. Methods: We recruited patients eligible for CR who had access to a mobile phone, tablet, or computer with Internet access. The mobile app includes physical activity goal setting, logs for tracking physical activity and health metrics (eg, weight, blood pressure, and mood), health education, reminders, and feedback. Study staff demonstrated the mobile app to participants in person and then observed participants completing prespecified tasks with the mobile app. Participants completed the System Usability Scale (SUS, 0-100), rated likelihood to use the mobile app (0-100), questionnaires on mobile app use, and participated in a semistructured interview. The Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology and the Theory of Planned Behavior informed the analysis. On the basis of participant feedback, we made iterative revisions to the mobile app between users. Results: We conducted usability testing in 13 participants. The first version of the mobile app was used by the first 5 participants, and revised versions were used by the final 8 participants. From the first version to revised versions, task completion success rate improved from 44% (11/25 tasks) to 78% (31/40 tasks; P=.05), SUS improved from 54 to 76 (P=.04; scale 0-100, with 100 being the best usability), and self-reported likelihood of use remained high at 76 and 87 (P=.30; scale 0-100, with 100 being the highest likelihood). In interviews, patients expressed interest in tracking health measures (“I think it’ll be good to track my exercise and to see what I’m doing”), a desire for introductory training (“Initially, training with a technical person, instead of me relying on myself”), and an expectation for sharing data with providers (“It would also be helpful to share with my doctor, it just being a matter of clicking a button and sharing it with my doctor”). Conclusions: With participant feedback and iterative revisions, we significantly improved the usability of a mobile app for CR. Patient expectations for using a mobile app for CR include tracking health metrics, introductory training, and sharing data with providers. Iterative mixed-method evaluation may be useful for improving the usability of health technology.

  • Checking messages using Loop's mobile interface. Source: The Authors/Placeit.net; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2018/1/e2/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    The Perceived Ease of Use and Usefulness of Loop: Evaluation and Content Analysis of a Web-Based Clinical Collaboration System

    Abstract:

    Background: Patients with complex health care needs require the expertise of many health care providers. Communication, collaboration, and patient-centered care positively impact care quality and patient outcomes. Few technologies exist that facilitate collaboration between providers across settings of care and also engage the patient. We developed a Web-based clinical collaboration system, Loop, to address this gap. The likelihood of a technological system’s uptake is associated with its perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness. We engaged stakeholders in the conceptualization and development of Loop in an effort to maximize its intuitiveness and utility. Objective: This study aimed to report end users’ perceptions about the ease of use and usefulness of Loop captured during usability tests of Loop. Methods: Participants represented three user types (patients, caregivers, and health care providers) recruited from three populations (adults with cancer, adolescents and young adults with cancer, and children with medical complexity). We conducted usability testing over three iterative cycles of testing and development in both laboratory-based and off-site environments. We performed a content analysis of usability testing transcripts to summarize and describe participant perceptions about the ease of use and usefulness of Loop. Results: Participants enjoyed testing Loop and were able to use the core functions—composing, posting, and reading messages—with little difficulty. They had difficulty interpreting certain visual cues and design elements or the purpose of some features. This difficulty negatively impacted perceived ease of use but was primarily limited to auxiliary features. Participants predicted that Loop could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communication between care team members; however, this perceived usefulness could be compromised by disruptions to personal workflow such as additional time or task requirements. Conclusions: Loop was perceived to have value as a collaboration system; however, usability testing findings indicate that some design and functional elements need to be addressed to improve ease of use. Additionally, participant concerns highlight the need to consider how a system can be implemented so as to minimize impact on workflow and optimize usefulness.

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2018/1/e1/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Second Version of Google Glass as a Wearable Socio-Affective Aid: Positive School Desirability, High Usability, and Theoretical Framework in a Sample of...

    Abstract:

    Background: Computerized smartglasses are being developed as an assistive technology for daily activities in children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While smartglasses may be able to help with educational and behavioral needs, their usability and acceptability in children with ASD is largely unknown. There have been reports of negative social perceptions surrounding smartglasses use in mainstream populations, a concern given that assistive technologies may already carry their own stigma. Children with ASD may also have a range of additional behavioral, developmental, and social challenges when asked to use this emerging technology in school and home settings. Objective: The usability and acceptability of Glass Enterprise Edition (Glass), the successor to Google Glass smartglasses, were explored in children with ASD and their caregivers. Methods: Eight children with ASD and their caregivers were recruited to attend a demonstration session with Glass smartglasses the week they were publicly released. The children had a wide range of ability, including limited speech to speaking, and represented a full range of school ages (6 to 17 years). Children and caregivers were interviewed about their experience of using the smartglasses and whether they would use them at school and home. Results: All 8 children succeeded in using Glass and did not feel stressed (8/8, 100%) or experience any overwhelming sensory or emotional issues during the session (8/8, 100%). All 8 children (8/8, 100%) endorsed that they would be willing to wear and use the device in both home and school settings. Caregivers felt the experience was fun for the children (8/8, 100%), and most caregivers felt the experience was better than they had expected (6/8, 75%). Conclusions: A wide age and ability range of children with ASD used Glass immediately after it was released and found it to be usable and acceptable. Despite concerns about potential stigma or social acceptability, all of the children were prepared to use the technology in both home and school settings. Encouragingly, most caregivers noted a very positive response. There were no behavioral, developmental, or social- or stigma-related concerns during or after the session. Smartglasses may be a useful future technology for children with ASD and are readily accepted for use by children with ASD and their caregivers.

  • Source: Pixabay.com; Copyright: Dariusz Sankowski; URL: https://pixabay.com/en/iphone-6s-plus-apple-white-screen-1032779/; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Characteristics of Adults Seeking Health Care Provider Support Facilitated by Mobile Technology: Secondary Data Analysis

    Abstract:

    Background: Mobile health technology is rapidly evolving with the potential to transform health care. Self-management of health facilitated by mobile technology can maximize long-term health trajectories of adults. Little is known about the characteristics of adults seeking Web-based support from health care providers facilitated by mobile technology. Objective: This study aimed to examine the following: (1) the characteristics of adults who seek human support from health care providers for health concerns using mobile technology rather than from family members and friends or others with similar health conditions and (2) the use of mobile health technology among adults with chronic health conditions. Findings of this study were interpreted in the context of the Efficiency Model of Support. Methods: We first described characteristics of adults seeking Web-based support from health care providers. Using chi-square tests for categorical variables and t test for the continuous variable of age, we compared adults seeking Web-based and conventional support by demographics. The primary aim was analyzed using multivariate logistic regression to examine whether chronic health conditions and demographic factors (eg, sex, income, employment status, race, ethnicity, education, and age) were associated with seeking Web-based support from health care providers. Results: The sample included adults (N=1453), the majority of whom were female 57.60% (837/1453), white 75.02% (1090/1453), and non-Hispanic 89.13% (1295/1453). The age of the participants ranged from 18 to 92 years (mean 48.6, standard deviation [SD] 16.8). The majority 76.05% (1105/1453) of participants reported college or higher level of education. A disparity was found in access to health care providers via mobile technology based on socioeconomic status. Adults with annual income of US $30,000 to US $100,000 were 1.72 times more likely to use Web-based methods to contact a health care provider, and adults with an annual income above US $100,000 were 2.41 to 2.46 times more likely to access health care provider support on the Web, compared with those with an annual income below US $30,000. After adjusting for other demographic covariates and chronic conditions, age was not a significant factor in Web-based support seeking. Conclusions: In this study, the likelihood of seeking Web-based support increased when adults had any or multiple chronic health conditions. A higher level of income and education than the general population was found to be related to the use of mobile health technology among adults in this survey. Future study is needed to better understand the disparity in Web-based support seeking for health issues and the clinicians’ role in promoting access to and use of mobile health technology.

  • Overview of the experts in the online module (montage). Source: The Authors / Placeit.net; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2017/4/e32/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Deciding How to Stay Independent at Home in Later Years: Development and Acceptability Testing of an Informative Web-Based Module

    Abstract:

    Background: Seniors with loss of autonomy may face decisions about whether they should stay at home or move elsewhere. Most seniors would prefer to stay home and be independent for as long as possible, but most are unaware of options that would make this possible. Objective: The study aimed to develop and test the acceptability of an interactive website for seniors, their caregivers, and health professionals with short interlinked videos presenting information about options for staying independent at home. Methods: The approach for design and data collection varied, involving a multipronged, user-centered design of the development process, qualitative interviews, and end-user feedback to determine content (ie, needs assessment) in phase I; module development (in English and French) in phase II; and survey to test usability and acceptability with end users in phase III. Phase I participants were a convenience sample of end users, that is, seniors, caregivers, and professionals with expertise in modifiable factors (eg, day centers, home redesign, equipment, community activities, and finances), enabling seniors to stay independent at home for longer in Quebec and Alberta, Canada. Phase II participants were bilingual actors; phase III participants included phase I participants and new participants recruited through snowballing. Qualitative interviews were thematically analyzed in phase II to determine relevant topics for the video-scripts, which were user-checked by interview participants. In phase III, the results of a usability questionnaire were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Results: In phase I, interviews with 29 stakeholders, including 4 seniors, 3 caregivers, and 22 professionals, showed a need for a one-stop information resource about options for staying independent at home. They raised issues relating to 6 categories: cognitive autonomy, psychological or mental well-being, functional autonomy, social autonomy, financial autonomy, and people involved. A script was developed and evaluated by participants. In phase II, after 4 days in a studio with 15 bilingual actors, 30 videos were made of various experts (eg, family doctor, home care nurse, and social worker) presenting options and guidance for the decision-making process. These were integrated into an interactive website, which included a comments tool for visitors to add information. In phase III (n=21), 8 seniors (7 women, mean age 75 years), 7 caregivers, and 6 professionals evaluated the acceptability of the module and suggested improvements. Clarity of the videos scored 3.6 out of 4, length was considered right by 17 (separate videos) and 13 participants (all videos together), and 18 participants considered the module acceptable. They suggested that information should be tailored more, and that seniors may need someone to help navigate it. Conclusions: Our interactive website with interlinked videos presenting information about options for staying independent at home was deemed acceptable and potentially helpful by a diverse group of stakeholders.

  • Home page of the app developed to support patient postoperative rehabilitation after rotator cuff repair (montage). Source: The Authors / Placeit.net; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2017/4/e31/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Challenges During Implementation of a Patient-Facing Mobile App for Surgical Rehabilitation: Feasibility Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Translating research into practice, especially the implementation of digital health technologies in routine care, is increasingly important. Yet, there are few studies examining the challenges of implementing patient-facing digital technologies in health care settings. Objective: The aim of this study was to report challenges experienced when implementing mobile apps for patients to support their postsurgical rehabilitation in an orthopedic setting. Methods: A mobile app was tailored to the needs of patients undergoing rotator cuff repair. A 30-min usability session and a 12-week feasibility study were conducted with patients to evaluate the app in routine care. Implementation records (observation reports, issues log, and email correspondence) explored factors that hindered or facilitated patient acceptance. Interviews with clinicians explored factors that influenced app integration in routine care. Results: Participant completion was low (47%, 9/19). Factors that affected patient acceptance included digital literacy, health status, information technology (IT) infrastructure at home, privacy concerns, time limitations, the role of a caregiver, inconsistencies in instruction received from clinicians and the app, and app advice not reflective of patient progress over time. Factors that negatively influenced app integration in routine care included competing demands among clinicians, IT infrastructure in health care settings, identifying the right time to introduce the app to patients, user interface complexity for older patients, lack of coordination among multidisciplinary clinicians, and technical issues with app installation. Conclusions: Three insights were identified for mobile app implementation in routine care: (1) apps for patients need to reflect their journey over time and in particular, postoperative apps ought to be introduced as part of preoperative care with opportunities for patients to learn and adopt the app during their postoperative journey; (2) strategies to address digital literacy issues among patients and clinicians are essential; and (3) impact of the app on patient outcomes and clinician workflow needs to be communicated, monitored, and reviewed. Lastly, digital health interventions should supplement but not replace patient interaction with clinicians.

  • Paralympic athlete with visual impairment use a speech synthesizer to self-report Sports-Related Injuries and Illnesses. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2017/4/e30/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    An eHealth Application of Self-Reported Sports-Related Injuries and Illnesses in Paralympic Sport: Pilot Feasibility and Usability Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Sport participation is associated with a risk of sports-related injuries and illnesses, and Paralympic athletes’ additional medical issues can be a challenge to health care providers and medical staff. However, few prospective studies have assessed sports-related injuries and illnesses in Paralympic sport (SRIIPS) over time. Advances in mobile phone technology and networking systems offer novel opportunities to develop innovative eHealth applications for collection of athletes’ self-reports. Using eHealth applications for collection of self-reported SRIIPS is an unexplored area, and before initiation of full-scale research of SRIIPS, the feasibility and usability of such an approach needs to be ascertained. Objective: The aim of this study was to perform a 4-week pilot study and (1) evaluate the monitoring feasibility and system usability of a novel eHealth application for self-reported SRIIPS and (2) report preliminary data on SRIIPS. Methods: An eHealth application for routine collection of data from athletes was developed and adapted to Paralympic athletes. A 4-week pilot study was performed where Paralympic athletes (n=28) were asked to weekly self-report sport exposure, training load, general well-being, pain, sleep, anxiety, and possible SRIIPS. The data collection was followed by a poststudy use assessment survey. Quantitative data related to the system use (eg, completed self-reports, missing responses, and errors) were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The qualitative feasibility and usability data provided by the athletes were condensed and categorized using thematic analysis methods. Results: The weekly response rate was 95%. The athletes were of the opinion that the eHealth application was usable and feasible but stated that it was not fully adapted to Paralympic athletes and their impairments. For example, it was difficult to understand how a new injury or illness should be identified when the impairment was involved. More survey items related to the impairments were requested, as the athletes perceived that injuries and illnesses often occurred because of the impairment. Options for description of multifactorial incidents including an injury, an illness, and the impairment were also insufficient. Few technical issues were encountered, but athletes with visual impairment reported usability difficulties with the speech synthesizer. An incidence rate of 1.8 injuries and 1.7 illnesses per 100 hours of athlete exposure were recorded. The weekly pain prevalence was 56% and the impairment contributed to 20% of the reported incidents. Conclusions: The novel eHealth-based application for self-reported SRIIPS developed and tested in this pilot study was generally feasible and usable. With some adaptation to accommodate Paralympic athletes’ prerequisites and improved technical support for athletes with visual impairment, this application can be recommended for use in prospective studies of SRIIPS. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02788500; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02788500 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6v56OqTeP)

  • Tidbit, our Version 3 design and new test strip cassettes. The confusing pull-out tray has been eliminated, and the asymmetry of the device prevents users from inadvertently placing it upside down. Source: Figure 6 from http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2017/4/e29; Copyright: the authors; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Enhancing the Usability of an Optical Reader System to Support Point-of-Care Rapid Diagnostic Testing: An Iterative Design Approach

    Abstract:

    Background: In today’s health care environment, increasing costs and inadequate medical resources have created a worldwide need for more affordable diagnostic tools that are also portable, fast, and easy to use. To address this issue, numerous research and commercial efforts have focused on developing rapid diagnostic technologies; however, the efficacy of existing systems has been hindered by usability problems or high production costs, making them infeasible for deployment in at-home, point-of-care (POC), or resource-limited settings. Objective: The aim of this study was to create a low-cost optical reader system that integrates with any smart device and accepts any type of rapid diagnostic test strip to provide fast and accurate data collection, sample analysis, and diagnostic result reporting. Methods: An iterative design methodology was employed by a multidisciplinary research team to engineer three versions of a portable diagnostic testing device that were evaluated for usability and overall user receptivity. Results: Repeated design critiques and usability studies identified a number of system requirements and considerations (eg, software compatibility, biomatter contamination, and physical footprint) that we worked to incrementally incorporate into successive system variants. Our final design phase culminated in the development of Tidbit, a reader that is compatible with any Wi-Fi-enabled device and test strip format. The Tidbit includes various features that support intuitive operation, including a straightforward test strip insertion point, external indicator lights, concealed electronic components, and an asymmetric shape, which inherently signals correct device orientation. Usability testing of the Tidbit indicates high usability for potential user communities. Conclusions: This study presents the design process, specification, and user reception of the Tidbit, an inexpensive, easy-to-use, portable optical reader for fast, accurate quantification of rapid diagnostic test results. Usability testing suggests that the reader is usable among and can benefit a wide group of potential users, including in POC contexts. Generally, the methodology of this study demonstrates the importance of testing these types of systems with potential users and exemplifies how iterative design processes can be employed by multidisciplinary research teams to produce compelling technological solutions.

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