Author Archives: Åsa Cajander

About Åsa Cajander

Researcher in the area of Human Computer Interaction with research interest in eHealth, User Centred Design and HCI Education.

Why Spend Time Blogging as an Academic? My Top Four Reasons to Blog

Academics work quite hard, and many don’t have much time. So why spend it on writing blog posts? Well, I have had this blog for a few years now, and I also blog for NordWit and in my research group HTO. Why do I do this? Here are my top four reasons why I blog:

  1. I spread the word about my research to people outside of academia, and now and then I have been contacted by journalists and other people who have read blog posts that seem relevant for them.
  2. I enjoy writing, and blogging is easy and quite fun!! They don’t need to be serious, and they don’t really take that much time to write.
  3. My blog has resulted in new opportunities for me and my team. One example is visitors coming to Uppsala who have read about our research, others are funding opportunities that are based on blogs that people have read, and it is also a way to be invited to collaborations.
  4.  I reflect and learn while writing. Often I only have a topic for a blog post when I start writing, and as the text appears on the screen I understand and reflect on what I have done and why. Writing about my work helps me reflect and learn from it!

Experiences from Finding Reviewers to Case Studies for NordiCHI 2020

Recently I have spent a considerable amount of time working for NordiCHI 2020 in the role of case studies chair for the industry track. There were 11 papers submitted in the industry track, and each paper needed two reviewers.

Here are my thoughts from this experience:

  1. It has so far taken me around two days of work to find people willing to do the reviews. I had never imagined that! If you are one of the people who has accepted I want to give you a warm THANK YOU!
  2. The conference system crashed after the first day, and all the invitations that I had sent were gone. Usability is still an issue in 2020, and those of us who engage in UX and usability will not be out of work due to systems being perfect.
  3. The people I asked from the data base of reviewers in the conference system mostly declined my invitation.
  4. I mailed three people that I had never met but from searches in databases I could see that the paper was relevant for them and sent off a personal invitation later. None of these accepted.
  5.  Many of my colleagues are overwhelmed with reviews for this conference, and many declined due to having accepted to do many reviews already.


It will be interesting to see what the reviews look like when they come back. Some people that I asked have already done theirs, and that is truly impressive since it has only been a few days.


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Welcome to our special session on Sustainability in Education @FIE2020

We are a group of seven people who will organise a special session at the IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference 2020. Most of the organisers are from Uppsala, and the “hero” behind the idea for the special session is Anne Peters from the UpCERG research group. Most probably Frontiers in Education will be an online conference in October 2020, and I am very much looking forward to participating and discussing how to integrate sustainability issues in education.  The title for the special session is: “Care ethics to develop computing and engineering education for sustainability”

Here is the abstract for the special session: 

The aim of this special session is to connect researchers interested in computing and engineering education for sustainability. We will explore the use of care and care ethics as a theoretical perspective to develop sustainability education. Theoretical discussions in environmental and sustainability education (ESE) research and feminist research will be introduced to develop an understanding of care for education. Those theories will be illustrated and motivated based on concrete examples in computing and computing education. The participants get to choose among four different topics of discussion in the session, 1) the role of education to prepare for care, 2) theoretical discussions of care as a concept to develop education and education research, 3) pedagogical methods to foster care, 4) care and responsibility in the curriculum. The outcome of this session is two-fold: The participants will gain new ways of conceiving education for human and planetary well-being and they will get to know researchers and educational developers with an interest in and experiences with sustainability education.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

‘I do not share it with others. No, it’s for me, it’s my care’ – On sharing of patient accessible electronic health records

A few years back i organised a PhD summer school together with Gavin Doherty,  Jan Gulliksen, Conor Linehan and a whole bunch of very well known HCI people were lecturers. The course was is presented in this paper if you are curious: “ACM SIGCHI/EIT health summer school on user-centered design in e-health”. The course consisted of one week at Trinity College in Dublin, and one week in Stockholm at the Royal Institute of Technology and I participated in the background during the whole course. During this course I got to know several inspiring people, one of which is Leysan Nurgaleva. She spent an internship in my research group, and we wrote a paper together that has been in review since two years or so (!). You can read about Leysan’s experience from this collaboration around the paper here.

Last week the paper was finally published! It is really an interesting, and relevant, paper on patients’ sharing of their information to family and friends. The research questions answered are:

  • RQ1. What values, considerations, and conditions motivate patients to share or not to share medical records?
  • RQ2. What are the critical issues constraining the sharing of medical information in person and digitally?

Among other things the results showed that 1) Older and less educated patients share more. 2) Health conditions and illnesses affect sharing and 3) Sharing is connected to its perceived usefulness

You find the abstract below, and the full paper is found here.

Abstract: This study explores patients’ perspectives on sharing their personal health data, which is traditionally shared through discussions with peers and relatives. However, other possibilities for sharing have emerged through the introduction of online services such as Patient Accessible Electronic Health Records (PAEHR). In this article, we investigate strategies that patients adopt in sharing their PAEHR. Data were collected through a survey with 2587 patients and through 15 semi-structured interviews with cancer patients. Results show that surprisingly few patients share their information, and that older patients and patients with lower educational levels share more frequently. A large majority of patients trust the security of the system when sharing despite the high sensitivity of health information. Finally, we discuss the design implications addressing identified problems when sharing PAEHR, as well as security and privacy issues connected to sharing.

Psychosocial work environment and nurses

Erebouni Arakelian is organising a very interesting session on psychosocial work environment and nurses and my research group has been invited to join. The conference is organised by Svensk förening för Anestesi och Intensivvård and will hopefully happen in Uppsala in September 2020. Diane Golay and I will be presenting our studies on digitalisation, work engagement and nursing, and we are presenting together with several other interesting talks!

The track called Psychosocial work environment will be on Friday the 19th of September and we hope that Corona is gone by then. You find the full schedule here:


Psychosocial work environment
Moderator: Erebouni Arakelian, Uppsala

  1. Introduction to psychosocial work environment, negative health effects, organizational justice and prosperous workplaces Magnus Svartengren, Uppsala
  2. Why do anesthesia and surgical nurses choose to stay or leave their workplace? Erebouni Arakelian, Uppsala
  3. Effort-reward imbalance, job-demand control and wellbeing among hospital workers in perioperative context. Robert Wålinder, Uppsala
  4. Nurses digital work environment: The situation today and what can be done to make it better. Diane Golay and Åsa Cajander, Uppsala
  5. Working hours and recovery – effects on health and patient safety
    Anna Dahlbert, Stockholm
  6. Daytime rhythms, light behavior, and sleep. We are affected by light at work
    Arne Lowden, Stockholm

Study on Automation of eServices in Primary Care

Automation where humans and computers cooperate on various levels is transforming society. Many jobs are anticipated to be partially or completely automated in the future. OECD, for example, calculate that 14% of current jobs could completely disappear in the next 15-20 years, and they estimate that around 32% are likely to change entirely as tasks are automated (OECD 2019). Another well cited calculation estimates that 47% of all jobs in the US will be threatened by technology development in the next 10 to 20 years (Frey and Osborne 2017). This transformation using automation is also seen in the healthcare sector and some areas of automation are clinical development, non-invasive surgeries, robots in the medical pill dispersion and administrative systems being automated 

Automation has also recently moved into the area of patient-centric services to address society’s challenges with an ageing population and healthcare provision. The goal of the transformation with automation here is to make healthcare more efficient, and to empower patients. Given the work environment problems in healthcare, with a large turnover of especially nurses (Hsu 2016) and recent evidence that suggest digitalisation is experienced as a part of the problem by many healthcare professionals (Kroth et al. 2019; Scandurra et al. 2014), it is vital to investigate the effects of automation and digitalisation on work engagement. 

As a part of the STRIA work we did a study on staff at 1177 that we published in a Swedish technical report found here


Denna rapport innehåller en kartläggning av 1177-personalens digitala arbetsmiljö vid arbete med den chattfunktion till patienter som användes under ett pilotprojekt hösten 2019. Rapporten är skriven med utgångspunkt från att läsaren har inblick i personalen på 1177s arbete, och har kunskap kring de IT-system som används. Kartläggningen genomfördes som ett samarbete mellan forskningsprojektet Systemutvecklingsmetoder för digital arbetsmiljö som leds av Uppsala Universitet och Region Uppsalas projekt Nära Vård Online under hösten och vintern 2019/2020.

Kontextuella intervjuer genomfördes på plats under cirka fem timmar. Dessutom genomfördes nio semistrukturerade intervjuer med sjuksköterskorna och åtta med läkare. Intervjufrågorna grupperades i fyra teman: intervjupersonens bakgrund; arbetsmiljö relaterat till pilotprojektet; arbetsmiljö relaterat till det äldre sättet att arbeta och några avslutande frågor. Alla intervjuer transkriberades och tematisk analys gjordes.

Inom temat upplevelse av krav visar intervjuerna att det som är mest stressande, och som nästan stressar alla, är köbildningen i chattsystemet. Det som stressar är otillräcklig information om vilka samtal som väntar, och att man inte kan veta när personen man chattar med svarar. Dessutom påpekar några att man inte heller kan se vilka patienter som behöver snabb hjälp och vilka som kan vänta.

Inom temat stöd kan man konstatera att alla upplever systemen som stabila, och har god inblick i vad man kan göra om systemen inte fungerar. Många tycker att systemen fungerar mycket bra. Några påpekar att samarbetet och stödet från kollegor som jobbar hemifrån inte fungerar lika bra som att arbeta på samma plats.

Inom området upplevelse av kontroll finns det förbättringsområden vad det gäller vilka frågor som patienten svarat på, och sjuksköterskor påpekade att systemet delvis är designat för läkare och inte för sjuksköterskors arbete. Många upplevde att de kunde vara med och påverka i förändringsarbetet, och att de i mycket stor utsträckning varit delaktig.

Rapporten innehåller också några rekommendationer kring design och implementering av liknande tjänster ur ett arbetsmiljöperspektiv. Slutligen finns lästips för den intresserade läsaren.


Workload and Working from Home in Corona Times

I’ve been working from home from the first week of March. By now that sums up to around six weeks. The first couple of weeks work was calmer, in my experience, with less meetings and things cancelled. Everything was a bit chaotic there the first weeks. Two conferences where I was going to talk as key note were cancelled which gave me several empty days on a short notice.  Also other things disappeared from the calendar and many things were cancelled. But the last weeks it has been more or less the same amount of “too much to do” as usual. But with a different flavour and content.

For me distance meetings takes much more energy than ordinary meetings where everyone is in the same room. Often I have had 5-7 hours of meetings in a day and it doesn’ really work well. Also, very often I am the meeting leader and meetings have a different character than usual. Perhaps that takes some energy from me too? One example is that people are muted and the meetings become a bit more organised. They also need to be more carefully planned. For the future I need to cut down on the number of meetings per day to be able to have energy enough for the other parts of my work: planning things, writing funding applications and papers and reading. The following weeks I will try to cut down to four meetings a day, and not book more than that.

The workload when it comes to teaching has also increased due to Corona. Instead of being prepared to discuss the content/material of my lectures, I also need to prepare the interactions with students to the very detail. In my classes very few students speak up in the zoom meeting classroom, so instead I use polls, and other interactive tools to keep them activated. These needs to be put in place before the lecture starts. Also, the lectures in themselves have been stressful with all kinds of technical issues, even though I am lucky enough to have had good help from Diane Golay who teaches the course with me.

Also the work load when it comes to the family has been different and heavier during these Corona times. The oldest son’s school is closed so he is always studying from home, and me and my husband work from home too. And at least one of the other three kids have stayed at home too every working day. So far there has been only two days with three people at home, and the rest we have had 4-6 people at home every day.  This truly affects the grocery shopping, cleaning and cooking. When I sit in my meetings the kids play with different things, and the house is a mess. Unfortunately cleaning and cooking are not my favourite hobbies. I have never been so happy about our robot vacuum cleaner as these days. It does hard work cleaning the house every day! Another example of increased work load is lunch: Instead of walking to the the local restaurant at work we plan and prepare lunch for on average five people every work day. And lunch needs to be one hour due to meetings being booked which often is too short and there is no time to fill the dishwasher etc.



Soon ten years since I defended my PhD: “Date set, opponent accepted! Now the only thing that is missing is the text”

10 years have soon passed since I defended my PhD. Facebook has given me some memories such as “Date set, opponent accepted! Now the only thing that is missing is the text”.  I remember that I had tree months to write the introduction to the text and organise everything around the PhD. The PhD was based on eight papers related to how to work with software engineering (user centred design- UCD) in large organisations, and a large action research project with eight different public authorities. You find the thesis here:

The thesis has three research questions:

  1. What happens when UCSD is introduced in a public authority?

I was also interested in the values and perspectives of people involved in the organisation as well as how UCSD can be introduced through new methods that affect the values and perspectives of the stakeholders including the system developers in the organisation. Therefore, this thesis also aims at understanding the following questions:

  1. How do perspectives of stakeholders in systems development projects affect the work with UCSD, usability and users’ health in the organisations studied?

The final question addresses the issues of how we can address the introduction of UCSD and change perspectives:

  1. What new methods can be used to introduce UCSD and to influence perspectives?


I finished my PhD during a tough period in life, and I had much support from my family, my supervisor Jan Gulliksen and my friends. One of my very best friends Helena Bernáld did the photos for the thesis, and my parents helped me with grocery shopping, cleaning and laundry. In parallel to writing my PhD I was a single mom of three kids aged 2, 6 and 7, see photo. In addition to this I had just bought a house that I renovated and I somehow I pulled off painting my new house. I don’t remember why I though it was so important. Why did I do that!!?? It sounds very crazy in hindsight.

I remember nailing the PhD thesis to a wall in the university building (see photo) and feeling so happy that I pulled things off! A big thanks to everyone that helped me during this period!!

Professor Bodil Jönsson was the opponent at my defence. I remember that the discussion was very nice and that she thought that I had used too many theories and added to much material to the thesis. And she had a point. Somehow the situation in life made the PhD defence seem like something that was possible to control. And I was really not very nervous about it, and writing the thesis was therapy related to life in general. That part is also difficult to understand! I guess people are strange, and I am equally strange myself. 

Keep safe in Corona times!


Digital Work Environment and The Health Care Sector: Presentation at Vitalis 2020

Magdalena Stadin from Jönköping University, David Borgestig from Region Uppsala and I will be presenting at Vitalis 2020!

The abstract for the talk (transpated from Swedish)

Today, health care in Sweden is largely digitalised. The data that the business needs to function such as clinical data on patients such as administrative data on personnel, resources and costs are now primarily in digital form. This means that most healthcare and administrative processes are performed using one or more computer systems. This has had major consequences for the health care workers’ work environment.
This presentation begins by explaining what the digital work environment consists of, and some of the work environment problems that have arisen in connection with digitalisation. The digital work environment includes all the different digital systems required to carry out one’s work. The digital work environment can have a major impact on the physical, mental, and social work environment. For example, clicking and typing with a keyboard can cause physical problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders. Poorly designed systems can increase the cognitive load and lead to brain fatigue and overload, which can contribute to fatigue. The transition to digital communication can also change social patterns and power relations in depth.

The presenters have many years of experience in research on digitalisation of healthcare from a work environment perspective and will give examples from the studies they participated in as an introduction to the presentation.

In the presentation we will also elaborate on two different case studies we have done on digitization and the working environment. The first study is about a pilot project in primary care around triaging patients with the help of a chat function. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the staff with the new service? How is the staff’s working environment affected by the change? What can be learned for future implementations in primary care. The second study is an interview study with leaders in health care and their experiences of aspects in the digital work environment that are perceived to contribute to stress and frustration, and how these aspects are handled in a concrete manner. A further theme highlighted by the second study is what improvement measures would be required for the digital work environment to be improved, from the leaders’ perspective.

Finally, we will make recommendations for working with digital work environment in health care.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Starting up Interview Study with the Aim of Defining “Digital Excellence”

The University Chancellor’s Office (Universitetskanslersämbetet ), together with the Swedish Growth Agency (Tillväxtverket), has been commissioned to analyze and propose how the supply of digital excellence can be developed in the short and long term. The assignment includes the development of improved statistics and forecasts of the total need for competence in business and the public sector with the aim of improving the conditions for universities and universities to meet the need for excellence in the short and long term.
However, there is no accepted definition of what digital excellence is. Our project hence aims to develop a definition of the concept of digital excellence. The definition should form the basis for UKÄ and the Swedish Growth Agency’s project.

As a part of this work Jan Gulliksen, Arnold Pears, Mattias Wiggberg and I are doing an interview study with 10-20 key players to understand their perspective of Digital Excellence. This week I have started doing these semi structured interviews, and it has been great fun. Doing an interview is always a learning experience, and people are often very wise and knowledgeable.