Usability testing of mobile ICT for clinical settings: Methodological and practical challenges

  • Svanæs D
  • Alsos O
  • Dahl Y
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Background: While much is known about how to do usability testing of stationary Electronic Patient Record (EPR) systems, less is known about how to do usability testing of mobile ICT systems intended for use in clinical settings. Aim: Our aim is to provide a set of empirically based recommendations for usability testing of mobile ICT for clinical work. Method: We have conducted usability tests of two mobile EPR systems. Both tests have been done in full-scale models of hospital settings, and with multiple users simultaneously. We report here on the methodological aspects of these tests. Results: We found that the usability of the mobile EPR systems to a large extent were determined by factors that went beyond that of the graphical user interface. These factors include ergonomic aspects such as the ability to have both hands free, and social aspects such as to what extent the systems disturbs the face-to-face interaction between the health worker and the patient. Conclusions: To be able to measure usability issues that go beyond what can be found by a traditional stationary user interface evaluation, it is necessary to conduct usability tests of mobile EPR systems in physical environments that simulate the conditions of the work situation at a high level of realism. It is further in most cases necessary to test with a number of test subjects simultaneously. © 2008 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Electronic patient records
  • Medical informatics
  • Mobile ICT
  • Usability evaluation

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  • Dag Svanæs

  • Ole Andreas Alsos

  • Yngve Dahl

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