JMIR Publications

JMIR Human Factors

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

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2014-04-17

Announcing a New Journal: JMIR Human Factors JMIR Human Factors is a new spin-off journal of JMIR, the leading open access eHealth journal (Impact Factor 2010: 4.7). 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. We are currently soliciting papers for the inaugural issue - be a founding author of this new journal and submit your paper before 1. Dec 2014. 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. EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS ARE ALSO CURRENTLY BEING RECRUITED, PLEASE CONTACT jmir.editorial.office@gmail.com IF YOU ARE INTERESTED. Open Access *** No Submission Fees or Publication Fees humanfactors.jmir.org

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Journal Description

Announcing a New Journal:  JMIR Human Factors

JMIR Human Factors is a new spin-off journal of JMIR, the leading open access eHealth journal (Impact Factor 2013: 4.7). 

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.

We are currently soliciting papers for the inaugural issue - be a founding author of this new journal and submit your paper before 1. October 2014. 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.

Submit your paper before October 1st, 2014 to be a founding author of this new journal.

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

 
Open Access *** No Submission Fees or Publication Fees

 
 

Recent Articles:

  • (cc) Davies et al. CC-BY-SA 2.0, please cite as (http://humanfactors.jmir.org/article/viewFile/4452/1/62601).

    Development and Acceptability of a Co-Produced Online Intervention to Prevent Alcohol Misuse in Adolescents: A Think Aloud Study

    Abstract:

    Background: The prototype willingness model (PWM) may offer an appropriate basis for explaining and preventing adolescent alcohol misuse. An intervention was developed using a co-production approach, and consisted of an online quiz featuring 10 questions linked to the PWM. Objective: This study sought to determine the acceptability and relevance of the intervention content to young people, to incorporate their feedback into a final version. Methods: A qualitative think aloud study with follow-up semistructured interviews was undertaken with 16 young people aged 11-15 (50%). Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: The following 3 main themes relating the acceptability of the intervention were identified: “challenging expectations of alcohol education”; “motivations for drinking or not drinking,” and “the inevitability of drinking.” Participants found the intervention appealing because it was counter to their expectations. The content appeared to reflect their experiences of social pressure and drinking encounters. There was evidence that a focus on drinker/nondrinker prototypes was too narrow and that because adolescents perceived drinking as inevitable, it would be challenging to enact any plans to resist pressure to drink. Conclusions: An online intervention based on the PWM has the potential to engage and interest adolescents. A wide range of alcohol prototypes should be targeted and a focus on short-term harms should ensure that the intervention is credible to young people.

  • CC-BY 3.0 (http://itec.aalto.fi/participatory-design/workshop-guidelines/).

    Participatory Research as One Piece of the Puzzle: A Systematic Review of Consumer Involvement in Design of Technology-Based Youth Mental Health and...

    Abstract:

    Background: Despite the potential of technology-based mental health interventions for young people, limited uptake and/or adherence is a significant challenge. It is thought that involving young people in the development and delivery of services designed for them leads to better engagement. Further research is required to understand the role of participatory approaches in design of technology-based mental health and well-being interventions for youth. Objective: To investigate consumer involvement processes and associated outcomes from studies using participatory methods in development of technology-based mental health and well-being interventions for youth. Methods: Fifteen electronic databases, using both resource-specific subject headings and text words, were searched describing 2 broad concepts-participatory research and mental health/illness. Grey literature was accessed via Google Advanced search, and relevant conference Web sites and reference lists were also searched. A first screening of titles/abstracts eliminated irrelevant citations and documents. The remaining citations were screened by a second reviewer. Full text articles were double screened. All projects employing participatory research processes in development and/or design of (ICT/digital) technology-based youth mental health and well-being interventions were included. No date restrictions were applied; English language only. Data on consumer involvement, research and design process, and outcomes were extracted via framework analysis. Results: A total of 6210 studies were reviewed, 38 full articles retrieved, and 17 included in this study. It was found that consumer participation was predominantly consultative and consumerist in nature and involved design specification and intervention development, and usability/pilot testing. Sustainable participation was difficult to achieve. Projects reported clear dichotomies around designer/researcher and consumer assumptions of effective and acceptable interventions. It was not possible to determine the impact of participatory research on intervention effectiveness due to lack of outcome data. Planning for or having pre-existing implementation sites assisted implementation. The review also revealed a lack of theory-based design and process evaluation. Conclusions: Consumer consultations helped shape intervention design. However, with little evidence of outcomes and a lack of implementation following piloting, the value of participatory research remains unclear.

  • ASSESS MS being used to record a finger-nose test while the health professional monitors.

    Usability and Acceptability of ASSESS MS: Assessment of Motor Dysfunction in Multiple Sclerosis Using Depth-Sensing Computer Vision

    Abstract:

    Background: Sensor-based recordings of human movements are becoming increasingly important for the assessment of motor symptoms in neurological disorders beyond rehabilitative purposes. ASSESS MS is a movement recording and analysis system being developed to automate the classification of motor dysfunction in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) using depth-sensing computer vision. It aims to provide a more consistent and finer-grained measurement of motor dysfunction than currently possible. Objective: To test the usability and acceptability of ASSESS MS with health professionals and patients with MS. Methods: A prospective, mixed-methods study was carried out at 3 centers. After a 1-hour training session, a convenience sample of 12 health professionals (6 neurologists and 6 nurses) used ASSESS MS to capture recordings of standardized movements performed by 51 volunteer patients. Metrics for effectiveness, efficiency, and acceptability were defined and used to analyze data captured by ASSESS MS, video recordings of each examination, feedback questionnaires, and follow-up interviews. Results: All health professionals were able to complete recordings using ASSESS MS, achieving high levels of standardization on 3 of 4 metrics (movement performance, lateral positioning, and clear camera view but not distance positioning). Results were unaffected by patients’ level of physical or cognitive disability. ASSESS MS was perceived as easy to use by both patients and health professionals with high scores on the Likert-scale questions and positive interview commentary. ASSESS MS was highly acceptable to patients on all dimensions considered, including attitudes to future use, interaction (with health professionals), and overall perceptions of ASSESS MS. Health professionals also accepted ASSESS MS, but with greater ambivalence arising from the need to alter patient interaction styles. There was little variation in results across participating centers, and no differences between neurologists and nurses. Conclusions: In typical clinical settings, ASSESS MS is usable and acceptable to both patients and health professionals, generating data of a quality suitable for clinical analysis. An iterative design process appears to have been successful in accounting for factors that permit ASSESS MS to be used by a range of health professionals in new settings with minimal training. The study shows the potential of shifting ubiquitous sensing technologies from research into the clinic through a design approach that gives appropriate attention to the clinic environment.

  • An example of a person using a home health care device. Copyright 2015 by Philip Kortum.

    Evaluation of Home Health Care Devices: Remote Usability Assessment

    Abstract:

    Background: An increasing amount of health care is now performed in a home setting, away from the hospital. While there is growing anecdotal evidence about the difficulty patients and caregivers have using increasingly complex health care devices in the home, there has been little systematic scientific study to quantify the global nature of home health care device usability in the field. Research has tended to focus on a handful of devices, making it difficult to gain a broad view of the usability of home-care devices in general. Objective: The objective of this paper is to describe a remote usability assessment method using the System Usability Scale (SUS), and to report on the usability of a broad range of health care devices using this metric. Methods: A total of 271 participants selected and rated up to 10 home health care devices of their choice using the SUS, which scores usability from 0 (unusable) to 100 (highly usable). Participants rated a total of 455 devices in their own home without an experimenter present. Results: Usability scores ranged from 98 (oxygen masks) to 59 (home hormone test kits). An analysis conducted on devices that had at least 10 ratings showed that the effect of device on SUS scores was significant (P<.001), and that the usability of these devices was on the low end when compared with other commonly used items in the home, such as microwave ovens and telephones. Conclusions: A large database of usability scores for home health care devices collected using this remote methodology would be beneficial for physicians, patients, and their caregivers.

  • eHealth Literacy is important to address in design processes with the diversity of users and equipment. Copyright: iStock, purchased according to Standard License Agreement.

    Enhancing the Effectiveness of Consumer-Focused Health Information Technology Systems Through eHealth Literacy: A Framework for Understanding Users' Needs

    Abstract:

    Background: eHealth systems and applications are increasingly focused on supporting consumers to directly engage with and use health care services. Involving end users in the design of these systems is critical to ensure a generation of usable and effective eHealth products and systems. Often the end users engaged for these participatory design processes are not actual representatives of the general population, and developers may have limited understanding about how well they might represent the full range of intended users of the eHealth products. As a consequence, resulting information technology (IT) designs may not accommodate the needs, skills, cognitive capacities, and/or contexts of use of the intended broader population of health consumers. This may result in challenges for consumers who use the health IT systems, and could lead to limitations in adoption if the diversity of user attributes has not been adequately considered by health IT designers. Objective: The objective of this paper is to propose how users’ needs and competences can be taken into account when designing new information and communications technology solutions in health care by expanding the user-task-context matrix model with the domains of a new concept of eHealth literacy. Methods: This approach expands an existing method for supporting health IT system development, which advocates use of a three-dimensional user-task-context matrix to comprehensively identify the users of health IT systems, and what their needs and requirements are under differing contexts of use. The extension of this model involved including knowledge about users’ competences within the seven domains of eHealth literacy, which had been identified based on systematic engagement with computer scientists, academics, health professionals, and patients recruited from various patient organizations and primary care. A concept map was constructed based on a structured brainstorm procedure, card sorting, and computational analysis. Results: The new eHealth literacy concept (based on 7 domains) was incorporated as a key factor in expanding the user-task-context matrix to describe and qualify user requirements and understanding related to eHealth literacy. This resulted in an expanded framework and a five-step process, which can support health IT designers in understanding and more accurately addressing end-users’ needs, capabilities, and contexts to improve effectiveness and broader applicability of consumer-focused health IT systems. It is anticipated that the framework will also be useful for policy makers involved in the planning, procuring, and funding of eHealth infrastructure, applications, and services. Conclusions: Developing effective eHealth products requires complete understanding of the end-users’ needs from multiple perspectives. In this paper, we have proposed and detailed a framework for modeling users’ needs for designing eHealth systems that merges prior work in development of a user-task-context matrix with the emerging area of eHealth literacy. This framework is intended to be used to guide design of eHealth technologies and to make requirements explicitly related to eHealth literacy, enabling a generation of well-targeted, fit-for-purpose, equitable, and effective products and systems.

  • Screenshot of the visualization tool.

    A Visualization Tool to Analyse Usage of Web-Based Interventions: The Example of Positive Online Weight Reduction (POWeR)

    Abstract:

    Background: Attrition is a significant problem in Web-based interventions. Consequently, this research aims to identify the relation between Web usage and benefit from such interventions. A visualization tool has been developed that enables researchers to more easily examine large datasets on intervention usage that can be difficult to make sense of using traditional descriptive or statistical techniques alone. Objective: This paper demonstrates how the visualization tool was used to explore patterns in participants’ use of a Web-based weight management intervention, termed "positive online weight reduction (POWeR)." We also demonstrate how the visualization tool can be used to perform subsequent statistical analyses of the association between usage patterns, participant characteristics, and intervention outcome. Methods: The visualization tool was used to analyze data from 132 participants who had accessed at least one session of the POWeR intervention. Results: There was a drop in usage of optional sessions after participants had accessed the initial, core POWeR sessions, but many users nevertheless continued to complete goal and weight reviews. The POWeR tools relating to the food diary and steps diary were reused most often. Differences in participant characteristics and usage of other intervention components were identified between participants who did and did not choose to access optional POWeR sessions (in addition to the initial core sessions) or reuse the food and steps diaries. Reuse of the steps diary and the getting support tools was associated with greater weight loss. Conclusions: The visualization tool provided a quick and efficient method for exploring patterns of Web usage, which enabled further analyses of whether different usage patterns were associated with participant characteristics or differences in intervention outcome. Further usage of visualization techniques is recommended to (1) make sense of large datasets more quickly and efficiently; (2) determine the likely active ingredients in Web-based interventions, and thereby enhance the benefit they may provide; and (3) guide in designing (or redesigning) of future interventions to promote greater use and engagement by enabling users to easily access valued intervention content/tools. Trial Registration: International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 31685626; http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN31685626 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6YXYIw9vc).

  • Video of the CHF-CePPORT trailer.

    Usability Testing of an Internet-Based e-Counseling Platform for Adults With Chronic Heart Failure

    Abstract:

    Background: Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a major cause of hospitalization and mortality. In order to maintain heart function and quality of life, patients with CHF need to follow recommended self-care guidelines (ie, eating a heart healthy diet, exercising regularly, taking medications as prescribed, monitoring their symptoms, and living a smoke-free life). Yet, adherence to self-care is poor. We have developed an Internet-based e-Counseling platform, Canadian e-Platform to Promote Behavioral Self-Management in Chronic Heart Failure (CHF-CePPORT), that aims to improve self-care adherence and quality of life in people with CHF. Before assessing the efficacy of this e-platform in a multisite, double-blind, randomized controlled trial, we evaluated the usability of the prototype website. Objective: The objective of the study was to assess the usability of the CHF-CePPORT e-Counseling platform in terms of navigation, content, and layout. Methods: CHF patients were purposively sampled from the Heart Function Clinic at the Peter Munk Cardiac Center, University Health Network, to participate in this study. We asked the consented participants to perform specific tasks on the website. These tasks included watching self-help videos and reviewing content as directed. Their interactions with the website were captured using the “think aloud” protocol. After completing the tasks, research personnel conducted a semi-structured interview with each participant to assess their experience with the website. Content analysis of the transcripts from the “think aloud” sessions and the interviews was conducted to identify themes related to navigation, content, and layout of the website. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the satisfaction data. Results: A total of 7 men and women (ages 39-77) participated in 2 iterative rounds of testing. Overall, all participants were very satisfied with the content and layout of the website. They reported that the content was helpful to their management of CHF and that it reflected their experiences in coping with CHF. The layout was professional and friendly. The use of videos made the learning process entertaining. However, they experienced many navigation errors in the first round of testing. For example, some participants were not sure how to navigate across a series of Web pages. Based on the experiences that were reported in the first round, we made several changes to the navigation structure. This included using large navigation buttons to direct users to each section and providing tutorial videos to familiarize users with our website. We assessed whether these changes improved user navigation in the second round of testing. The major finding is that participants made fewer navigation errors and they did not identify any new problems. Conclusions: We found evidence to support the usability of our CHF-CePPORT e-Counseling platform. Our findings highlight the importance of a clear and easy-to-follow navigation structure on user experience.

  • Nurses are increasingly being confronted by electronic distraction in the health care environment.

Smiling Nurse in Pink Scrubs | Public domain image found on USA.govBreast Cancer

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/d1/f3/8e/d1f38e3582b4f3526a5c894245d3a178.jpg.

    Nursing Performance and Mobile Phone Use: Are Nurses Aware of Their Performance Decrements?

    Abstract:

    Background: Prior research has documented the effect of concurrent mobile phone use on medical care. This study examined the extent of hospital registered nurses’ awareness of their mobile-phone-associated performance decrements. Objective: The objective of this study was to compare self-reported performance with reported observed performance of others with respect to mobile phone use by hospital registered nurses. Methods: In March 2014, a previously validated survey was emailed to the 10,978 members of the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses. The responses were analyzed using a two-proportion z test (alpha=.05, two-tailed) to examine whether self-reported and observed rates of error were significantly different. All possible demographic and employment confounders which could potentially contribute to self-reported and observed performance errors were tested for significance. Results: Of the 950 respondents, 825 (8.68%, 825/950) met the inclusion criteria for analysis. The representativeness of the sample relative to the US nursing workforce was assessed using a two-proportion z test. This indicated that sex and location of primary place of employment (urban/rural) were represented appropriately in the study sample. Respondents in the age groups <40 years old were underrepresented, while age groups >55 years old were overrepresented. Whites, American Indians/Alaskan natives, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders were underrepresented, while Hispanic and multiple/other ethnicities were overrepresented. It was decided to report the unweighted, rather than the weighted survey data, with the recognition that the results, while valuable, may not be generalizable to the entire US registered nursing workforce. A significant difference was found between registered nurses’ self-reported and observed rates of errors associated with concurrent mobile phone use in following three categories (1) work performance (z=−26.6142, P<.001, Fisher’s exact test), (2) missing important clinical information (z=−13.9882, P=.008, Fisher’s exact test), and (3) making a medical error (z=−9.6798, P<.001, Fisher’s exact test). Respondents reported that personal mobile phone use by nurses at work was a serious distraction; always (13%, 107/825), often (29.6%, 244/825), sometimes (44.6%, 368/825), rarely (8.7%, 72/825), or never (1.2%, 10/825). On balance, 69.5% (573/825) of respondents believed that nurses’ use of personal mobile phones while working had a negative effect on patient care. Since all possible confounders were tested and none were deemed significant, a multivariate analysis was not considered necessary. Conclusions: Many hospitals are drawing up policies that allow workers to decide how to use their devices at work. This study found that nurses express a disproportionately high confidence in their ability to manage the risk associated with the use of mobile phones and may not be able to accurately assess when it is appropriate to use these devices at work.

  • (cc) Asan et al. CC-BY-SA-2.0, please cite as (http://humanfactors.jmir.org/article/viewFile/4062/1/56474).

    Using Eye Trackers for Usability Evaluation of Health Information Technology: A Systematic Literature Review

    Authors List:

    Abstract:

    Background: Eye-tracking technology has been used to measure human cognitive processes and has the potential to improve the usability of health information technology (HIT). However, it is still unclear how the eye-tracking method can be integrated with other traditional usability methodologies to achieve its full potential. Objective: The objective of this study was to report on HIT evaluation studies that have used eye-tracker technology, and to envision the potential use of eye-tracking technology in future research. Methods: We used four reference databases to initially identify 5248 related papers, which resulted in only 9 articles that met our inclusion criteria. Results: Eye-tracking technology was useful in finding usability problems in many ways, but is still in its infancy for HIT usability evaluation. Limited types of HITs have been evaluated by eye trackers, and there has been a lack of evaluation research in natural settings. Conclusions: More research should be done in natural settings to discover the real contextual-based usability problems of clinical and mobile HITs using eye-tracking technology with more standardized methodologies and guidance.

  • Computer users image from Ethiopia- image created by our group. (cc) Alwan et al, CC-BY-SA-2.0, please cite as (http://humanfactors.jmir.org/article/viewFile/4184/1/55880).

    Knowledge and Utilization of Computers Among Health Professionals in a Developing Country: A Cross-Sectional Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Incorporation of information communication technology in health care has gained wide acceptance in the last two decades. Developing countries are also incorporating information communication technology into the health system including the implementation of electronic medical records in major hospitals and the use of mobile health in rural community-based health interventions. However, the literature on the level of knowledge and utilization of information communication technology by health professionals in those settings is scarce for proper implementation planning. Objective: The objective of this study is to assess knowledge, computer utilization, and associated factors among health professionals in hospitals and health institutions in Ethiopia. Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional study was conducted on 554 health professionals working in 7 hospitals, 19 primary health centers, and 10 private clinics in the Harari region of Ethiopia. Data were collected using a semi-structured, self-administered, and pre-tested questionnaire. Descriptive and logistic regression techniques using SPSS version 16.0 (IBM Corporation) were applied to determine the level of knowledge and identify determinants of utilization of information communication technology. Results: Out of 554 participants, 482 (87.0%) of them responded to the questionnaire. Among them, 90 (18.7%) demonstrated good knowledge of computers while 142 (29.5%) demonstrated good utilization habits. Health professionals who work in the primary health centers were found to have lower knowledge (3.4%) and utilization (18.4%). Age (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=3.06, 95% CI 0.57-5.37), field of study (AOR=3.08, 95% CI 1.65-5.73), level of education (AOR=2.78, 95% CI 1.43-5.40), and previous computer training participation (AOR=3.65, 95% CI 1.62-8.21) were found to be significantly associated with computer utilization habits of health professionals. Conclusions: Computer knowledge and utilization habits of health professionals, especially those who work in primary health centers, were found to be low. Providing trainings and continuous follow-up are necessary measures to increase the likelihood of the success of implemented eHealth systems in those settings.

  • ICU room. (cc) Sowan et al. please cite as (http://humanfactors.jmir.org/article/viewFile/4196/1/55291).

    Nurses' Perceptions and Practices Toward Clinical Alarms in a Transplant Cardiac Intensive Care Unit: Exploring Key Issues Leading to Alarm Fatigue

    Abstract:

    Background: Intensive care units (ICUs) are complex work environments where false alarms occur more frequently than on non-critical care units. The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goal .06.01.01 targeted improving the safety of clinical alarm systems and required health care facilities to establish alarm systems safety as a hospital priority by July 2014. An important initial step toward this requirement is identifying ICU nurses’ perceptions and common clinical practices toward clinical alarms, where little information is available. Objective: Our aim was to determine perceptions and practices of transplant/cardiac ICU (TCICU) nurses toward clinical alarms and benchmark the results against the 2011 Healthcare Technology Foundation’s (HTF) Clinical Alarms Committee Survey. Methods: A quality improvement project was conducted on a 20-bed TCICU with 39 full- and part-time nurses. Nurses were surveyed about their perceptions and attitudes toward and practices on clinical alarms using an adapted HTF clinical alarms survey. Results were compared to the 2011 HTF data. Correlations among variables were examined. Results: All TCICU nurses provided usable responses (N=39, 100%). Almost all nurses (95%-98%) believed that false alarms are frequent, disrupt care, and reduce trust in alarm systems, causing nurses to inappropriately disable them. Unlike the 2011 HTF clinical alarms survey results, a significantly higher percentage of our TCICU nurses believed that existing devices are complex, questioned the ability and adequacy of the new monitoring systems to solve alarm management issues, pointed to the lack of prompt response to alarms, and indicated the lack of clinical policy on alarm management (P<.01). Major themes in the narrative data focused on nurses’ frustration related to the excessive number of alarms and poor usability of the cardiac monitors. A lack of standardized approaches exists in changing patients’ electrodes and individualizing parameters. Around 60% of nurses indicated they received insufficient training on bedside and central cardiac monitors. A correlation also showed the need for training on cardiac monitors, specifically for older nurses (P=.01). Conclusions: False and non-actionable alarms continue to desensitize TCICU nurses, perhaps resulting in missing fatal alarms. Nurses’ attitudes and practices related to clinical alarms are key elements for designing contextually sensitive quality initiatives to fight alarm fatigue. Alarm management in ICUs is a multidimensional complex process involving usability of monitoring devices, and unit, clinicians, training, and policy-related factors. This indicates the need for a multi-method approach to decrease alarm fatigue and improve alarm systems safety.

  • Screenshot of icon array from the InformedTogether decision aid.

    InformedTogether: Usability Evaluation of a Web-Based Decision Aid to Facilitate Shared Advance Care Planning for Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    Abstract:

    Background: Advance care planning may help patients receive treatments that better align with their goals for care. We developed a Web-based decision aid called InformedTogether to facilitate shared advance care planning between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and their doctors. Objective: Our objective was to assess the usability of the InformedTogether decision aid, including whether users could interact with the decision aid to engage in tasks required for shared decision making, whether users found the decision aid acceptable, and implications for redesign. Methods: We conducted an observational study with 15 patients and 8 doctors at two ethnically and socioeconomically diverse outpatient clinics. Data included quantitative and qualitative observations of patients and doctors using the decision aid on tablet or laptop computers and data from semistructured interviews. Patients were shown the decision aid by a researcher acting as the doctor. Pulmonary doctors were observed using the decision aid independently and asked to think aloud (ie, verbalize their thoughts). A thematic analysis was implemented to explore key issues related to decision aid usability. Results: Although patients and doctors found InformedTogether acceptable and would recommend that doctors use the decision aid with COPD patients, many patients had difficulty understanding the icon arrays that were used to communicate estimated prognoses and could not articulate the definitions of the two treatment choices—Full Code and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR). Minor usability problems regarding content, links, layout, and consistency were also identified and corresponding recommendations were outlined. In particular, participants suggested including more information about potential changes in quality of life resulting from the alternative advance directives. Some doctor participants thought the decision aid was too long and some thought it may cause nervousness among patients due to the topic area. Conclusions: A decision aid for shared advance care planning for severe COPD was found acceptable to most COPD patients and their doctors. However, many patient participants did not demonstrate understanding of the treatment options or prognostic estimates. Many participants endorsed the use of the decision aid between doctors and their patients with COPD, although they desired more information about quality of life. The design must optimize comprehensibility, including revising the presentation of statistical information in the icon array, and feasibility of integration into clinical workflow, including shortening the decision aid.

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