eHealth · Summer school

EHealth summer school in Dublin, day 3

The third day of the summer school was also very rewarding, with many inspirational lectures and interesting discussion topics. Even though no specific themes were announced in the program, most of today’s content was focused on methods and eHealth research in general. As before, I pick a few of the highlights from the day, which I write about below. 

This day a new interactive method was used – Jan Gulliksen (see picture above) used Mentimeter in his inspirational talk about motives for conducting research and how to look at and measure contributions. According to the results from the Mentimeter activity, about 75% of the participants wanted an academic career and the reason most of us had for conducting research was to contribute new knowledge to the world. In the beginning of the talk, we also got the task of writing down an example of how we want other researchers to cite our work. This really made me reflect on what my main contribution is and how it is framed in e.g. my thesis! 

Another inspirational talk, by Geraldine Fitzpatrick, focused on putting eHealth in a context. The talk focused a lot on the complexity that eHealth researchers and developers need to cope with – many different stakeholders (far more than just doctors, nurses and patients) and disciplines/needs involved. Several stakeholders, like insurance companies, government, etc are also found outside the hospital. Everyone has to be taken into account when designing something that is going to be a part of a very complex eco-system – a system that designers often simplify too much. Plus, new systems in this domain (and other domains also, of course) often bring about changes in work roles and how jobs are performed – changes that often directly effect the contact between patients and care professionals. Several interesting examples of problems that implemented eHealth solutions can cause, due to the context of use not being properly analyzed, were also given. The talk began with an open question about how the participants thought about eHealth in relation to context. Mostly one-word answers were given. When the same question was asked in the end, a lot more reasoning answers were given!

There were only two other lectures this day, about evaluation methods (focus on experimental trials) and medical device safety. I recognized most of the experimental methods presented, so for me the method walkthrough was more of a repetition. More than half of the studies I have conducted during my Ph.D studies and thereafter have been based on experiments. The talk on safety focused e.g. on incidents and causes of errors. Errors often occur when the technology does not fit the work process. Everyone can make errors (care professionals also – it’s human) and we have to take this into account when designing new systems. 

Today’s project work conserned the user-centered planning process. As it turned out the paper Key Principles for User-Centred Systems Design, with among others Jan Gulliksen and Åsa Cajander as authors, was used as material! We should first map out the user-centered project process using the “key principles” as inspiration. Thereafter we chose methods and in the last phase we tried to identify some “tensions” (e.g. potential problems and possibilities of moving across national boundaries or involving indirect stakeholders). 

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