Formulating design requirements for a clinical handover system. A usability approach

Kaufmann, David
Parry, Dave
Carter, Philip
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Master of Computer and Information Sciences
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Auckland University of Technology

Clinical handover is the process of transferring professional responsibility for patients between heath care professionals. Software systems are increasingly used to facilitate this process and the usability of these systems is critical to patient safety.

This research assessed the clinical handover at the Maternity ward in Auckland City Hospital with the main aim to formulate usability design requirements for a handover system. It also assessed the methods used for formulating the requirements.

The project was constrained by the need to work in an ongoing, real world environment with limited access to actual users. This was considered representative of many projects. A multi-method approach was undertaken using four different methods in response to the emergent needs of the project. The utilised methods were: user observation, survey, stakeholder interview and heuristic evaluation. All these methods were given a usability orientation.

The usability design requirements derived from the research showed that there is a need for a high degree of customisation of the system in order to facilitate differences in individuals’ work styles and to align the interaction design for the system to the actual handover process. The display must be able to present the relevant information to a large audience. This can be realised by a presentation view that only displays information for one patient at a time. In order for the handover system to become the primary working surface, a user must be able to easily access all the required information and present it to his/her colleagues.

In regards to the methods used in this research, it can be concluded that each of the methods offered different insights into system usability. However, heuristic evaluation generated detailed and specific usability requirements while the other three methods mainly led to requirements that encompass usability among other aspects. Stakeholder interviews provided proof for the existence of usability events identified by the other methods.

Future directions for follow up research include the implementation of the generated usability requirements as well as the application of the chosen methods in domains other than health care.

Clinical handover , Usability design requirements , Usability evaluation methods , Information technology in health care , Usability , multi-method approach , User observation , Survey , Stakeholder interview , Heuristic evaluation
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