JMIR Human Factors
(Re-)designing health care and making health care interventions and technologies usable, safe, and effective
JMIR Human Factors (JHF, ISSN 2292-9495; Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Andre Kushniruk) is a multidisciplinary journal with contributions from design experts, 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. This includes 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.
JHF aspires to lead health care towards a culture of "usability by design", as well as to a culture of testing, error-prevention 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. 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.
Although social chatbot usage is expected to increase as language models and artificial intelligence improve, very little is known about the dynamics of human-social chatbot interactions. Specifically, there is a paucity of research examining why human-social chatbot interactions are initiated and the topics that are discussed.
Not thinking of a diagnosis is a leading cause of diagnostic error in the emergency department, resulting in delayed treatment, morbidity, and excess mortality. Electronic differential diagnostic support (EDS) results in small but significant reductions in diagnostic error. However, the uptake of EDS by clinicians is limited.
For the development of digital solutions, different aspects of user interface design must be taken into consideration. Different technologies, interaction paradigms, user characteristics and needs, and interface design components are some of the aspects that designers and developers should pay attention to when designing a solution. Many user interface design recommendations for different digital solutions and user profiles are found in the literature, but these recommendations have numerous similarities, contradictions, and different levels of detail. A detailed critical analysis is needed that compares, evaluates, and validates existing recommendations and allows the definition of a practical set of recommendations.
Participation from clinician stakeholders can improve the design and implementation of health care interventions. Participatory design methods, especially co-design methods, comprise stakeholder-led design activities that are time-consuming. Competing work demands and increasing workloads make clinicians’ commitments to typical participatory methods even harder. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated barriers to clinician participation in such interventions.
Health care in the 21st century has started undergoing major changes due to the rising number of patients with chronic conditions; increased access to new technologies, medical information, and peer support via the internet; and the ivory tower of medicine breaking down. This marks the beginning of a cultural transformation called digital health. This has also led to a shift in the roles of patients and medical professionals, resulting in a new, equal partnership. When COVID-19 hit, the adoption of digital health technologies skyrocketed. The technological revolution we had been aiming for in health care took place in just months due to the pandemic, but the cultural transition is lagging. This creates a dangerous gap between what is possible technologically through remote care, at-home lab tests, or health sensors and what patients and physicians are actually longing for. If we do it well enough now, we can spare a decade of technological transformations and bring that long-term vision of patients becoming the point of care to the practical reality of today. This is a historic opportunity we might not want to waste.
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders and a leading cause of disability, disproportionately affecting specific groups, such as patients with noncommunicable diseases. Over the past decade, digital interventions have been developed to provide treatment for these patients. CONEMO (Emotional Control in Spanish) is an 18-session psychoeducational digital intervention delivered through a smartphone app and minimally supported by a nurse. CONEMO demonstrated effectiveness in reducing depressive symptoms through a randomized controlled trial (RCT) among patients with diabetes, hypertension, or both, in Lima, Peru. However, in addition to clinical outcomes, it is important to explore users’ experiences, satisfaction, and perceptions of usability and acceptability, which can affect their engagement with the intervention.
The global health crisis caused by COVID-19 has drastically changed human society in a relatively short time. However, this crisis has offered insights into the different roles that such a worldwide virus plays in the lives of people and how those have been affected, as well as eventually proposing new solutions. From the beginning of the pandemic, technology solutions have featured prominently in virus control and in the frame of reference for international travel, especially contact tracing and passenger locator applications.
Symptom checkers have been widely used during the COVID-19 pandemic to alleviate strain on health systems and offer patients a 24-7 self-service triage option. Although studies suggest that users may positively perceive web-based symptom checkers, no studies have quantified user feedback after use of an electronic health record–integrated COVID-19 symptom checker with self-scheduling functionality.
Survivors of childhood cancer are at lifelong risk of morbidity (such as new cancers or heart failure) and premature mortality due to their cancer treatment. These are termed late effects. Therefore, they require lifelong, risk-tailored surveillance. However, most adult survivors of childhood cancer do not complete recommended surveillance tests such as mammograms or echocardiograms.
Home-based exercise is an important part of physical therapy treatment for patients with low back pain. However, treatment effectiveness depends heavily on patient adherence to home-based exercise recommendations. Smartphone apps designed to support home-based exercise have the potential to support adherence to exercise recommendations and possibly improve treatment effects. A better understanding of patient perspectives regarding the use of smartphone apps to support home-based exercise during physical therapy treatment can assist physical therapists with optimal use and implementation of these apps in clinical practice.
COVID-19 necessitated the rapid implementation and uptake of virtual health care; however, virtual care’s potential role remains unclear in the urgent care setting. In December 2020, the first virtual emergency department (ED) in the Greater Toronto Area was piloted at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre by connecting patients to emergency physicians through an online portal.
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