Tag Archives: patient information system

RAA: Care more about intended users rather than general public

RAA stands for: Research Article Analysis

Paper discussed:

Das, A., Faxvaag, A., & Svanas, D. (2011). Interaction design for cancer patients: do we need to take into account the effects of illness and medication? Proceedings of the 2011 annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 21-24. doi: 10.1145/1978942.1978946

1. Purpose of the research:

Examine cancer patients’ ability to use a patient-centered information system and their need for the system, in order to improve the usability of the next version of the system.

2. Methods:

One way to accomplish the research goal is to establish if there are significant differences in task performance between particular patient groups and average computer users. Authors proposed a hypothesis that the group of cancer patients would have significantly more difficulties using a web-based healthcare system compared to a control group of healthy individuals.

The study was set up as an observational case-control study with an experiment where cancer patients and healthy controls were observed while they conducted tasks by using a web-based healthcare system. Semi-structured interviews and questionnaires were used afterwards to collect additional information. The whole precess was captured on video and analyzed to evaluate the usability based on the definition of usability by ISO (effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction).

3. Main Findings:

Effectiveness: the cancer patients experienced more difficulties compared to the healthy controls for the entire task and for all its five subtasks (lower completion rate). Efficiency: measured “time on task” was not quite useful because cancer patients quickly gave up and was given assistance while healthy controls quickly finished the tasks, which led to similar time on task. Satisfaction: SUS score might be affected by cancer patients’ motivation to use the system.

In conclusion, authors claimed effectiveness is the main issue faced by cancer patients due to their impaired physical and cognitive ability. A patient-centered systems should be designed with the intended users in mind, rather than average, general public.

4. Analysis:

I will give 4 out of 5 points to this paper. Four points for its novel and sympathetic consideration towards the design of patient information system, as well as the clear-conveyed experiments. One point is lost for the relatively small size of sample and lack of in-depth suggestions about specific improvements should be made. For future study, research could be carried out to examine the exact problems that cancer patients face. Possible approaches could be eye-tracking experiments and think-aloud method, in the way that both objective and subjective descriptions could be gained.