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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 2017: 4.671).
 
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:

  • Physician in operating room. Source: Foter; Copyright: Foter; URL: https://foter.com/photo2/eye-surgery-female-medical-young-healthcare/; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Anesthesiology Control Tower—Feasibility Assessment to Support Translation (ACTFAST): Mixed-Methods Study of a Novel Telemedicine-Based Support System for...

    Abstract:

    Background: Despite efforts to improve patient outcomes, major morbidity and mortality remain common after surgery. Health information technologies that provide decision support for clinicians might improve perioperative and postoperative patient care. Evaluating the usability of these technologies and barriers to their implementation can facilitate their acceptance within health systems. Objective: This manuscript describes usability testing and refinement of an innovative telemedicine-based clinical support system, the Anesthesiology Control Tower (ACT). It also reports stakeholders’ perceptions of the barriers and facilitators to implementation of the intervention. Methods: Three phases of testing were conducted in an iterative manner. Phase 1 testing employed a think-aloud protocol analysis to identify surface-level usability problems with individual software components of the ACT and its structure. Phase 2 testing involved an extended qualitative and quantitative real-world usability analysis. Phase 3 sought to identify major barriers and facilitators to implementation of the ACT through semistructured interviews with key stakeholders. Results: Phase 1 and phase 2 usability testing sessions identified numerous usability problems with the software components of the ACT. The ACT platform was revised in seven iterations in response to these usability concerns. Initial satisfaction with the ACT, as measured by standardized instruments, was below commonly accepted cutoffs for these measures. Satisfaction improved to acceptable levels over the course of revision and testing. A number of barriers to implementation were also identified and addressed during the refinement of the ACT intervention. Conclusions: The ACT model can improve the standard of perioperative anesthesia care. Through our thorough and iterative usability testing process and stakeholder assessment of barriers and facilitators, we enhanced the acceptability of this novel technology and improved our ability to implement this innovation into routine practice. International Registered Report Identifier (IRRID): RR2-10.1186/s40814-018-0233-4

  • Source: The Authors / Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2019/2/e12469/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Interruptive Versus Noninterruptive Clinical Decision Support: Usability Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Clinical decision support (CDS) has been shown to improve compliance with evidence-based care, but its impact is often diminished because of issues such as poor usability, insufficient integration into workflow, and alert fatigue. Noninterruptive CDS may be less subject to alert fatigue, but there has been little assessment of its usability. Objective: This study aimed to study the usability of interruptive and noninterruptive versions of a CDS. Methods: We conducted a usability study of a CDS tool that recommended prescribing an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor for inpatients with heart failure. We developed 2 versions of the CDS: an interruptive alert triggered at order entry and a noninterruptive alert listed in the sidebar of the electronic health record screen. Inpatient providers were recruited and randomly assigned to use the interruptive alert followed by the noninterruptive alert or vice versa in a laboratory setting. We asked providers to “think aloud” while using the CDS and then conducted a brief semistructured interview about usability. We used a constant comparative analysis informed by the CDS Five Rights framework to analyze usability testing. Results: A total of 12 providers participated in usability testing. Providers noted that the interruptive alert was readily noticed but generally impeded workflow. The noninterruptive alert was felt to be less annoying but had lower visibility, which might reduce engagement. Provider role seemed to influence preferences; for instance, some providers who had more global responsibility for patients seemed to prefer the noninterruptive alert, whereas more task-oriented providers generally preferred the interruptive alert. Conclusions: Providers expressed trade-offs between impeding workflow and improving visibility with interruptive and noninterruptive versions of a CDS. In addition, 2 potential approaches to effective CDS may include targeting alerts by provider role or supplementing a noninterruptive alert with an occasional, well-timed interruptive alert.

  • An elderly couple using the ColorApp application through a mobile phone. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2019/2/e12103/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Usable Mobile App for Community Education on Colorectal Cancer: Development Process and Usability Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Participation in colorectal cancer screening is still low among Malaysians despite the increasing trend of incidence, with more than half of the new cases being detected in the advanced stages. Knowledge improvement might increase screening participation and thus improve the chances of disease detection. With the advancement of communication technology, people nowadays prefer to read from their mobile phone using a Web browser or mobile apps compared with the traditional printed material. Therefore, health education and promotion should adapt this behavior change in educating the community. Objective: This study aimed to document the process of designing and developing a mobile app for community education on colorectal cancer and assess the usability of the prototype. Methods: The nominal group technique (NGT) was used for the content development of the mobile app. NGT involving community educationists and clinicians combined with community representatives as the target users identified relevant health information and communication strategies including features for a user-friendly mobile app. The prototype was developed using framework Ionic 1, based on the Apache Cordova and Angular JS (Google). It was published in the Google Play store. In total, 50 mobile phone users aged 50 years and above and who had never been diagnosed with any type of cancer were invited to download and use the app. They were asked to assess the usability of the app using the validated Malay version of System Usability Scale Questionnaire for the Assessment of Mobile Apps questionnaire. The One-sample t test was used to assess the usability score with a cut-off value of 68 for the usable mobile app. Results: The Colorectal Cancer Awareness Application (ColorApp) was successfully developed in the local Malay language. The NGT discussion had suggested 6 main menus in the ColorApp prototype, which are Introduction, Sign and Symptoms, Risk Factors, Preventive Measures, Colorectal Cancer Screening Program, and immunochemical fecal occult blood test kit. A total of 2 additional artificial intelligence properties menus were added to allow user-ColorApp interaction: Analyze Your Status and ColorApp Calculator. The prototype has been published in the Google Play store. The mean usability score was 72 (SD 11.52), which indicates that ColorApp is a usable mobile app, and it can be used as a tool for community education on colorectal cancer. Conclusions: ColorApp mobile app can be used as a user-friendly tool for community education on colorectal cancer.

  • Source: Wikimedia Commons; Copyright: BAXTER CZECH spol. s r.o.; URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peritone%C3%A1ln%C3%AD_dial%C3%BDza.jpg; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    Uptake and Scalability of a Peritoneal Dialysis Virtual Care Solution: Qualitative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Early research in the area of virtual care solutions with peritoneal dialysis (PD) patients has focused on evaluating the outcomes and impact of these solutions. There has been less attention focused on understanding the factors influencing the uptake, usability, and scalability of virtual care for chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients receiving PD at home. Objective: In this context, a study was undertaken to (1) assess and understand the factors influencing the uptake of a virtual care solution and (2) provide recommendations for the scalability of a virtual care solution aimed at enhancing CKD patients’ outcomes and experiences. Methods: This study used a qualitative design with semistructured interviews and a thematic analysis approach. A total of 25 stakeholders—6 patients and 3 caregivers, 6 health care providers, 2 vendors, and 8 health system decision makers—participated in this study. Results: The following three primary mechanisms emerged to influence the usability of the virtual care solution: (1) receiving hands-on training and ongoing communication from a supportive team, (2) adapting to meet user needs and embedding them into workflow, and (3) being influenced by patient and caregiver characteristics. Further, two overarching recommendations were developed for considerations around scalability: (1) co-design locally, embed into the daily workflow, and deploy over time and (2) share the benefits and build the case. Conclusions: Study findings can be used by key stakeholders in their future efforts to enhance the implementation, uptake, and scalability of virtual care solutions for CKD and managing PD at home.

  • Source: Wikimedia Commons; Copyright: Akiyao; URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michigan_Physician_and_Patient_2014.jpg; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    Live Usability Testing of Two Complex Clinical Decision Support Tools: Observational Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Potential of the electronic health records (EHR) and clinical decision support (CDS) systems to improve the practice of medicine has been tempered by poor design and the resulting burden they place on providers. CDS is rarely tested in the real clinical environment. As a result, many tools are hard to use, placing strain on providers and resulting in low adoption rates. The existing CDS usability literature relies primarily on expert opinion and provider feedback via survey. This is the first study to evaluate CDS usability and the provider-computer-patient interaction with complex CDS in the real clinical environment. Objective: This study aimed to further understand the barriers and facilitators of meaningful CDS usage within a real clinical context. Methods: This qualitative observational study was conducted with 3 primary care providers during 6 patient care sessions. In patients with the chief complaint of sore throat, a CDS tool built with the Centor Score was used to stratify the risk of group A Streptococcus pharyngitis. In patients with a chief complaint of cough or upper respiratory tract infection, a CDS tool built with the Heckerling Rule was used to stratify the risk of pneumonia. During usability testing, all human-computer interactions, including audio and continuous screen capture, were recorded using the Camtasia software. Participants’ comments and interactions with the tool during clinical sessions and participant comments during a postsession brief interview were placed into coding categories and analyzed for generalizable themes. Results: In the 6 encounters observed, primary care providers toggled between addressing either the computer or the patient during the visit. Minimal time was spent listening to the patient without engaging the EHR. Participants mostly used the CDS tool with the patient, asking questions to populate the calculator and discussing the results of the risk assessment; they reported the ability to do this as the major benefit of the tool. All providers were interrupted during their use of the CDS tool by the need to refer to other sections of the chart. In half of the visits, patients’ clinical symptoms challenged the applicability of the tool to calculate the risk of bacterial infection. Primary care providers rarely used the incorporated incentives for CDS usage, including progress notes and patient instructions. Conclusions: Live usability testing of these CDS tools generated insights about their role in the patient-provider interaction. CDS may contribute to the interaction by being simultaneously viewed by the provider and patient. CDS can improve usability and lessen the strain it places on providers by being short, flexible, and customizable to unique provider workflow. A useful component of CDS is being as widely applicable as possible and ensuring that its functions represent the fastest way to perform a particular task.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: Gerd Altmann; URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/cigarettes-ash-tilt-smoking-83571/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    Exploring the Experiences of Individuals Allocated to a Control Setting: Findings From a Mobile Health Smoking Cessation Trial

    Abstract:

    Background: Tobacco smoking is the primary cause of preventable premature disease and death worldwide. Evidence of the efficacy of text messaging interventions to reduce smoking behavior is well established, but there is still a need for studies targeting young people, especially because young adult smokers are less likely to seek treatment than older adults. A mobile health intervention, Nicotine Exit (NEXit), targeting smoking among university students was developed to support university students to quit smoking. Short-term effectiveness was measured through a randomized controlled trial, which found that immediately after the 12-week intervention, 26% of smokers in the intervention group had prolonged abstinence compared with 15% in the control group. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the experience of being allocated to the control group in the NEXit smoking cessation intervention. Methods: We asked students who were allocated to the control group in the main NEXit randomized controlled trial to report their experiences. An email was sent to the participants with an electronic link to a short questionnaire. We assessed the distribution of the responses to the questionnaire by descriptive analysis. We analyzed free-text comments to 4 questions. Results: The response rate for the questionnaire was 33.8% (258/763), and we collected 143 free-text comments. Of the responders, 60.9% (157/258) experienced frustration, disappointment, and irritation about being allocated to the control group; they felt they were being denied support by having to wait for the intervention. Monthly text messages during the waiting period thanking them for taking part in the trial were perceived as negative by 72.3% (189/258), but for some the messages served as a reminder about the decision to quit smoking. Of the responders, 61.2% (158/258) chose to wait to quit smoking until they had access to the intervention, and 29.8% (77/258) decided to try to quit smoking without support. Of the respondents, 77.5% (200/258) claimed they were still smoking and had signed up or were thinking about signing up for the smoking cessation program at the time of the questionnaire. Conclusions: Most of the respondents reported negative feelings about having to wait for the support of the intervention and that they had decided to continue smoking. A similar number decided to wait to quit smoking until they had access to the intervention, and these respondents reported a high interest in the intervention. Free-text comments indicated that some control group participants believed that they had been excluded from the trial, while others were confused when asked to sign up for the intervention again. Trial Registration: ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN75766527; http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN75766527 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/7678sUKbR)

  • Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2019/1/e11852/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    High-Fidelity Prototyping for Mobile Electronic Data Collection Forms Through Design and User Evaluation

    Abstract:

    Background: Mobile data collection systems are often difficult to use for nontechnical or novice users. This can be attributed to the fact that developers of such tools do not adequately involve end users in the design and development of product features and functions, which often creates interaction challenges. Objective: The main objective of this study was to assess the guidelines for form design using high-fidelity prototypes developed based on end-user preferences. We also sought to investigate the association between the results from the System Usability Scale (SUS) and those from the Study Tailored Evaluation Questionnaire (STEQ) after the evaluation. In addition, we sought to recommend some practical guidelines for the implementation of the group testing approach particularly in low-resource settings during mobile form design. Methods: We developed a Web-based high-fidelity prototype using Axure RP 8. A total of 30 research assistants (RAs) evaluated this prototype in March 2018 by completing the given tasks during 1 common session. An STEQ comprising 13 affirmative statements and the commonly used and validated SUS were administered to evaluate the usability and user experience after interaction with the prototype. The STEQ evaluation was summarized using frequencies in an Excel sheet while the SUS scores were calculated based on whether the statement was positive (user selection minus 1) or negative (5 minus user selection). These were summed up and the score contributions multiplied by 2.5 to give the overall form usability from each participant. Results: Of the RAs, 80% (24/30) appreciated the form progress indication, found the form navigation easy, and were satisfied with the error messages. The results gave a SUS average score of 70.4 (SD 11.7), which is above the recommended average SUS score of 68, meaning that the usability of the prototype was above average. The scores from the STEQ, on the other hand, indicated a 70% (21/30) level of agreement with the affirmative evaluation statements. The results from the 2 instruments indicated a fair level of user satisfaction and a strong positive association as shown by the Pearson correlation value of .623 (P<.01). Conclusions: A high-fidelity prototype was used to give the users experience with a product they would likely use in their work. Group testing was done because of scarcity of resources such as costs and time involved especially in low-income countries. If embraced, this approach could help assess user needs of the diverse user groups. With proper preparation and the right infrastructure at an affordable cost, usability testing could lead to the development of highly usable forms. The study thus makes recommendations on the practical guidelines for the implementation of the group testing approach particularly in low-resource settings during mobile form design.

  • Emergency physician and addiction counselor speaking with a patient about opioid use. Source: Image created by the Authors; Copyright: The Authors; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2019/1/e13121/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Computerized Clinical Decision Support System for Emergency Department–Initiated Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder: User-Centered Design

    Abstract:

    Background: Emergency departments (EDs) frequently care for individuals with opioid use disorder (OUD). Buprenorphine (BUP) is an effective treatment option for patients with OUD that can safely be initiated in the ED. At present, BUP is rarely initiated as a part of routine ED care. Clinical decision support (CDS) could accelerate adoption of ED-initiated BUP into routine emergency care. Objective: This study aimed to design and formatively evaluate a user-centered decision support tool for ED initiation of BUP for patients with OUD. Methods: User-centered design with iterative prototype development was used. Initial observations and interviews identified workflows and information needs. The design team and key stakeholders reviewed prototype designs to ensure accuracy. A total of 5 prototypes were evaluated and iteratively refined based on input from 26 attending and resident physicians. Results: Early feedback identified concerns with the initial CDS design: an alert with several screens. The timing of the alert led to quick dismissal without using the tool. User feedback on subsequent iterations informed the development of a flexible tool to support clinicians with varied levels of experience with the intervention by providing both one-click options for direct activation of care pathways and user-activated support for critical decision points. The final design resolved challenging navigation issues through targeted placement, color, and design of the decision support modules and care pathways. In final testing, users expressed that the tool could be easily learned without training and was reasonable for use during routine emergency care. Conclusions: A user-centered design process helped designers to better understand users’ needs for a Web-based clinical decision tool to support ED initiation of BUP for OUD. The process identified varying needs across user experience and familiarity with the protocol, leading to a flexible design supporting both direct care pathways and user-initiated decision support.

  • EMR System Use in Sub-Saharan Africa. Source: Image created by the Author; Copyright: Michael Kavuma; URL: http://humanfactors.jmir.org/2019/1/e9317/; License: Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial (CC-BY-NC).

    The Usability of Electronic Medical Record Systems Implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Literature Review of the Evidence

    Authors List:

    Abstract:

    Background: Electronic medical record (EMR) systems hold the exciting promise of accurate, real-time access to patient health care data and great potential to improve the quality of patient care through decision support to clinicians. This review evaluated the usability of EMR systems implemented in sub-Saharan Africa based on a usability evaluation criterion developed by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Objective: This review aimed to evaluate EMR system implementations in sub-Saharan Africa against a well-defined evaluation methodology and assess their usability based on a defined set of metrics. In addition, the review aimed to identify the extent to which usability has been an enabling or hindering factor in the implementation of EMR systems in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: Five key metrics for evaluating EMR system usability were developed based on the methodology proposed by HIMSS. These were efficiency, effectiveness, ease of learning, cognitive load, and user satisfaction. A 5-point rating system was developed for the review. EMR systems in 19 reviewed publications were scored based on this rating system. It awarded 5 points per metric to any EMR system that was identified as excellent, 4 points for good, 3 points for fair, 2 points for poor, and 1 point for bad. In addition, each of the 5 key metrics carried a maximum weighted score of 20. The percentage scores for each metric were then computed from the weighted scores from which the final overall usability score was derived. Results: In possibly contributing to the usability of implemented EMR systems, ease of learning obtained the highest percentage score of 71% (SD 1.09) followed by cognitive load in second place with a score of 68% (SD 1.62). Effectiveness followed closely in third place at 67% (SD 1.47) and efficiency was in fourth place at 64% (SD 1.04). User satisfaction came in last at 63% (SD 1.70). The overall usability score for all systems was calculated to be 66%. Conclusions: The usability of EMR systems implemented in sub-Saharan Africa has been good with ease of learning possibly being the biggest positive contributor to this rating. Cognitive load and effectiveness have also possibly positively influenced the usability of EMR systems, whereas efficiency and user satisfaction have perhaps contributed least to positively influencing EMR system usability.

  • Source: Flickr; Copyright: US Department of Agriculture (Bob Nichols); URL: https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/8575100693/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Improving Provider Adoption With Adaptive Clinical Decision Support Surveillance: An Observational Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Successful clinical decision support (CDS) tools can help use evidence-based medicine to effectively improve patient outcomes. However, the impact of these tools has been limited by low provider adoption due to overtriggering, leading to alert fatigue. We developed a tracking mechanism for monitoring trigger (percent of total visits for which the tool triggers) and adoption (percent of completed tools) rates of a complex CDS tool based on the Wells criteria for pulmonary embolism (PE). Objective: We aimed to monitor and evaluate the adoption and trigger rates of the tool and assess whether ongoing tool modifications would improve adoption rates. Methods: As part of a larger clinical trial, a CDS tool was developed using the Wells criteria to calculate pretest probability for PE at 2 tertiary centers’ emergency departments (EDs). The tool had multiple triggers: any order for D-dimer, computed tomography (CT) of the chest with intravenous contrast, CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA), ventilation-perfusion scan, or lower extremity Doppler ultrasound. A tracking dashboard was developed using Tableau to monitor real-time trigger and adoption rates. Based on initial low provider adoption rates of the tool, we conducted small focus groups with key ED providers to elicit barriers to tool use. We identified overtriggering of the tool for non-PE-related evaluations and inability to order CT testing for intermediate-risk patients. Thus, the tool was modified to allow CT testing for the intermediate-risk group and not to trigger for CT chest with intravenous contrast orders. A dialogue box, “Are you considering PE for this patient?” was added before the tool triggered to account for CTPAs ordered for aortic dissection evaluation. Results: In the ED of tertiary center 1, 95,295 patients visited during the academic year. The tool triggered for an average of 509 patients per month (average trigger rate 2036/30,234, 6.73%) before the modifications, reducing to 423 patients per month (average trigger rate 1629/31,361, 5.22%). In the ED of tertiary center 2, 88,956 patients visited during the academic year, with the tool triggering for about 473 patients per month (average trigger rate 1892/29,706, 6.37%) before the modifications and for about 400 per month (average trigger rate 1534/30,006, 5.12%) afterward. The modifications resulted in a significant 4.5- and 3-fold increase in provider adoption rates in tertiary centers 1 and 2, respectively. The modifications increased the average monthly adoption rate from 23.20/360 (6.5%) tools to 81.60/280.20 (29.3%) tools and 46.60/318.80 (14.7%) tools to 111.20/263.40 (42.6%) tools in centers 1 and 2, respectively. Conclusions: Close postimplementation monitoring of CDS tools may help improve provider adoption. Adaptive modifications based on user feedback may increase targeted CDS with lower trigger rates, reducing alert fatigue and increasing provider adoption. Iterative improvements and a postimplementation monitoring dashboard can significantly improve adoption rates.

  • Source: Wikimedia Commons; Copyright: Kgbo; URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Princess_Alexandra_Hospital_nurse_with_mobile_computer_work_station.jpg; License: Creative Commons Attribution + ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA).

    Nurses’ Perceptions of a Care Plan Information Technology Solution With Hundreds of Clinical Practice Guidelines in Adult Intensive Care Units: Survey Study

    Abstract:

    Background: The integration of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) into the nursing care plan and documentation systems aims to translate evidence into practice, improve safety and quality of care, and standardize care processes. Objective: This study aimed to evaluate nurses’ perceptions of the usability of a nursing care plan solution that includes 234 CPGs. Methods: A total of 100 nurses from 4 adult intensive care units (ICUs) responded to a survey measuring nurses’ perceptions of system usability. The survey included 37 rated items and 3 open-ended questions. Results: Nurses’ perceptions were favorable with more than 60.0% (60/100) in agreement on 12 features of the system and negative to moderate with 20.0% (20/100), to 59.0% (59/100) in agreement on 19 features. The majority of the nurses (80/100, 80.0% to 90/100, 90.0%) agreed on 4 missing safety features within the system. More than half of the nurses believed they would benefit from refresher classes on system use. Overall satisfaction with the system was just above average (54/100, 54.0%). Common positive themes from the narrative data were related to the system serving as a reminder for complete documentation and individualizing patient care. Common negative aspects were related to duplicate charting, difficulty locating CPGs, missing unit-specific CPGs, irrelevancy of information, and lack of perceived system value on patient outcomes. No relationship was found between years of system use or ICU experience and satisfaction with the system (P=.10 to P=.25). Conclusions: Care plan systems in ICUs should be easy to navigate; support efficient documentation; present relevant, unit-specific, and easy-to-find information; endorse interdisciplinary communication; and improve safety and quality of care.

  • Source: Pixabay; Copyright: engin akyurt; URL: https://pixabay.com/en/surgery-hospital-doctor-operation-3034133/; License: Licensed by JMIR.

    A Qualitative Study of the Theory Behind the Chairs: Balancing Lean-Accelerated Patient Flow With the Need for Privacy and Confidentiality in an Emergency...

    Abstract:

    Background: Many emergency departments (EDs) have used the Lean methodology to guide the restructuring of their practice environments and patient care processes. Despite research cautioning that the layout and design of treatment areas can increase patients’ vulnerability to privacy breaches, evaluations of Lean interventions have ignored the potential impact of these on patients’ informational and physical privacy. If professional regulatory organizations are going to require that nurses and physicians interact with their patients privately and confidentially, we need to examine the degrees to which their practice environment supports them to do so. Objective: This study explored how a Lean intervention impacted the ability of emergency medicine physicians and nurses to optimize conditions of privacy and confidentiality for patients under their care. Methods: From July to December 2017, semistructured interviews were iteratively conducted with health care professionals practicing emergency medicine at a single teaching hospital in Ontario, Canada. The hospital has 1000 beds, and approximately 128,000 patients visit its 2 EDs annually. In response to poor wait times, in 2013, the hospital’s 2 EDs underwent a Lean redesign. As the interviews proceeded, information from their transcripts was first coded into topics and then organized into themes. Data collection continued to theoretical sufficiency. Results: Overall, 15 nurses and 5 physicians were interviewed. A major component of the Lean intervention was the construction of a three-zone front cell at both sites. Each zone was outfitted with a set of chairs in an open concept configuration. Although, in theory, professionals perceived value in having the chairs, in practice, these served multiple, and often, competing uses by patients, family members, and visitors. In an attempt to work around limitations they encountered and keep patients flowing, professionals often needed to move a patient out from a front chair and actively search for another location that better protected individuals’ informational and physical privacy. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first qualitative study of the impact of a Lean intervention on patient privacy and confidentiality. The physical configuration of the front cell often intensified the clinical work of professionals because they needed to actively search for spaces better affording privacy and confidentiality for patient encounters. These searches likely increased clinical time and added to these patients’ length of stay. We advocate that the physical structure and configuration of the front cell should be re-examined under the lens of Lean’s principle of value-added activities. Future exploration of the perspectives of patients, family members, and visitors regarding the relative importance of privacy and confidentiality during emergency care is warranted.

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