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User-Centered Design and Interactive Health Technologies for Patients

DABBS, ANNETTE DE VITO RN, PhD; MYERS, BRAD A. PhD; MC CURRY, KENNETH R. MD; DUNBAR-JACOB, JACQUELINE RN, PhD; HAWKINS, ROBERT P. PhD; BEGEY, ALEX BS; DEW, MARY AMANDA PhD

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: May/June 2009 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - pp 175-183
doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e31819f7c7c
Feature Article

Despite recommendations that patients be involved in the design and testing of health technologies, few reports describe how to involve patients in systematic and meaningful ways to ensure that applications are customized to meet their needs. User-centered design is an approach that involves end users throughout the development process so that technologies support tasks, are easy to operate, and are of value to users. In this article, we provide an overview of user-centered design and use the development of Pocket Personal Assistant for Tracking Health (Pocket PATH) to illustrate how these principles and techniques were applied to involve patients in the development of this interactive health technology. Involving patient-users in the design and testing ensured functionality and usability, therefore increasing the likelihood of promoting the intended health outcomes.

Author Affiliations: School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, PA (Drs Dabbs and Dunbar-Jacob and Mr Begey); Human Computer Interaction Institute, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (Dr Myers); Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, OH (Dr Mc Curry); School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Wisconsin, Madison (Dr Hawkins); and Departments of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, PA (Dr Dew).

Funding sources for this project included the following: National Institutes of Health K 01 NR 009385, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing Center for Research and Evaluation Pilot Funding Program, and the Central Research Development Fund of the University of Pittsburgh.

Corresponding author: Annette De Vito Dabbs, RN, PhD, Acute and Tertiary Care, School of Nursing, University of Pittsburgh, 3500 Victoria St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261 (ajdst42@pitt.edu).

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.