Methods are truly important when you do research, and depending on your research tradition there are indeed many strong opinions about what is a good and bad method. Generalizability, validity and reliability are for some the only quality criteria possible. And if you do an interview study you need an enormous number of interviews according to some people.
Some would argue that human-computer interaction is indeed a melting pot of different opinions and perspectives on methods. Indeed, I have seen some very harsh comments on some of the methods that I have used from people with a completely other world-view. The problem when I get these comments is that I don’t really know what to write as an answer. Please take a course in qualitative research and relevant quality criteria for that kind of research is perhaps not the most politically correct rebuttal text to write.
One of my favorite stories related to methods is from my supervisor, Jan Gulliksen who was a part of a long review process where one other researcher claimed that the method was un-important:
I don’t care that the method is flawed. I like the results!
Before the Christmas holiday Christiane Grünloh presented a workshop paper that we wrote together that presents a mixed methods approach to analyzing interviews.
“Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a melting pot of different theories and methods. The combination of qualitative and quantitative methods in studies is still quite rare, but has become more and more common. In this paper, we present our experiences from doing a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis to shed some light on patient accessible electronic health records. We conducted a national survey to patients to learn about their experiences of accessing their electronic health records. The questionnaire was informed by previous interviews with physicians related to effects on their work environment, and we made use of identified themes from that study as a lens to analyse survey data.”
You find the paper free for download here.
I was appointed as one of the external reviewer of Jean Hallewell Haslwanter´s PhD dissertation with the title “User-Centered Development of Sensor-based Systems for Older People”. I must say that this was indeed an interesting thesis to read and I strongly recommend it for anyone who is interested in healthcare technology and user-centered design.
Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) is a technology that has been proposed to help society with problems related to an ageing population, as it could support older people to live at home instead of moving into elderly homes. However, despite the fact that many IT projects and companies have been working with the development of this technology, and large amounts have been invested in AAL, few such technologies has reached the market. In her thesis, Jean Hallewell Haslwanter addresses the issue from a user-centered design perspective and her work aims at understanding why AAL technologies have proven so difficult to develop.
The thesis has a substantial empirical contribution as it studies the development of AAL systems. One interesting finding is that the complex and multifaceted descriptions of the users fade away as the project continues, and is replaced by stereotypes of older people. Other contributions include recommendations for practitioners working with development of AAL technology.
Jean Hallewell Haslwanter’s dissertation is a monograph, but she has 13 research papers that are previously published. Many of the papers are conference papers, of which many appear in highly ranked international conferences. There are also conference papers that have been turned into journal papers. If you are interested you can find these publications online at the link.
I was interviewed on the P4 Västmanland radio the other day. The reporter was interested in patients reading their medical records online, and the research in the DOME consortium, and asked me questions such as:
- Do patients contact health care with more questions?
- What does reserarch say about getting cancer results, or other negative results from Journalen?
You find the interview 8 min into this radio program
Vitalis is an important venue for innovators, business and reseracher in eHealth, and brings together 4,500 participants. Next Vitalis takes place 24-26 April 2018 in Gothenburg, and last week the students from the IT in Society class submitted a proposal for a presentation at the conference.
The students will present their research on how health care can improve and become more efficient using tracking technology. I would suspect that it is not as easy as tracking in the snow, as in this blog post’s photo, however.
The students are doing extensive research on the topic this semester, with interviews field studies and literature reviews and studies to industries who have used tracking systems in their organizations to become more efficient.
The students will present their work around Christmas for Region Uppsala, and let’s hope that they are accepted to the conference so that knowledge and insights from their great work has a chance to spread!
Anders Klingberg has done some interesting work related to the intention and motivation among emergency care staff to use smartphones for burn injury tele-consultation. He has been looking at burn care in South Africa and in Tanzania where these kinds of injuries are quite common, especially in young children. One of the problems that they have found is the burn diagnosis and initial treatment, and they investigate the use of smart phones for burn injury consultation.
Yesterday Anders Klingberg presented his work at Karolinska Institutet, and I was a part of a committee of three people who discussed his work with him. So far he only has one published paper, but there are more papers to come – so watch out for them 🙂
Now we have kicked off this year’s IT in Society Class. There will be a series of blog post about this course this fall.
Some of the things that make this course very special are:
- Region Uppsala act as a real client to the student project
- We get a topic for the course from the client very year
- It is a global distributed project.
- The students come from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and from Uppsala University.
- It is based on a pedagigical concept called Open Ended Group Projects
The IT in Society unit was introduced into the IT engineering degree program as a response to industry feedback collected using questionnaires and meetings prior to commencement of the degree program in 1995. This input emphasized that scaffolding the development of teamwork and communication skills were high priority areas for our industry stakeholders.
Running this course unit has been a challenge every year since 1998, and it has been a quite inspiring challenge. The open-ended group project idea suited this course unit well. But the (for the students, who had experienced a highly technical preparation in most of their other degree course units) unusual content (e.g. societal aspects) added complexity to setting up a productive learning environment. Much effort over the years has been put into devising appropriate scaffolding to support the students, without compromising the underlying ideas behind the open-ended group project concept. There will be more info about this concept later on.
There is a whole series of research publications based on this course. The most prominent one is Mats Daniel’s PhD thesis found here
This summer I helped in organizing a summer school in user centered design and eHealth. The summer school was organized for PhD students and junior researchers in the area, and there were many who applied to the around 35 available positions.
Organizing a summer school was really great fun, and I got to meet a lot of interesting people who do research related to my own eHealth research area. It was also very good to see that the group taking the course became such a well-functioning community of practice during the week, and I am quite sure that they will stay in touch after the summer school has ended. One of the members of the summer school will be visiting my research group for six months as a part of her PhD Education, and for us that will be a great chance to get a new colleague.
My collegue Jonas Mol has written several blog posts about the summer school and all the fantastic lectures. You find his blog posts here:
- Day 1 (Intro, action research,…)
- Day 2 (Patient accessible electronic health records,…)
- Day 3 (Game demoes and workshop,…)
- Day 4 (Soma design, sustainable development,…)
- Day 5 (Project work and lectures)
It’s been a great week in Dublin so far, despite quite cloudy days and occasional rain. The week has been full of good lectures related to the eHealth from different perspectives. The lecture hall in itself was amazing, and during one lunch break we went to visit the old library which was an amazing building (se pictures of this blog)!
There has been many great lectures this week, and I can’t write about them all. Among other things Ann Blandfords presentation of a study made by Hanna Schneider (Msc) of patients different perspcecitves on a system for communicating with health care and the four categories of roles they found in their interveiw material: 1) Controller 2) Collaborator 3) Cooperator 4) Avoider. In this study the self determination theory (Ryan & Deci) was used. I would love to read up some more on that one!
Jonas Moll from the HTO group has written several more detailed blog posts about the lectures and the content. Hop on to his blog and read about these 🙂
In a few weeks the EIT summer school will meet again in Stockholm and Uppsala. Jan Gulliksen and I have worked out a good schedule that will include a visit to the Visualisation studie at KTH and other things. The day in Uppsala will be organised in conjunction with Region Uppsala and the EPJ division, as well as the DOME consortium. There are indeed good and interesting lectures coming up!
The last few weeks I have done lectures related to IT and UCD in different organisations. I will do a blog series about these lectures, and I will also write some words about the different aspects that have been discussed in these seminars. I start out by saying a few words abou the situation with IT projects and the quality of IT systems.
Many investigations conclude that a majority of IT projects fail and do not deliver on time, on budget and with a satisfactory result. According to the Standish group’s definition of success only around 30 % of all IT projects are successful. This means that around 70% of all IT projects deliver too late, with low quality or with unsatisfactory results. These numbers are really horrible!
If one look at the computer systems for work, the problems are obvious and enormous. This is for example reflected in the organisation Unionen’s reports on digital work environment for white collar workers in Sweden. These reports are based on surveys to employees that are members of the union named Unionen. They are named in the following way (translated from Swedish), and I let the titles speak for themselves:
2008: Why does not it get any better ?
2010: A system error ?
2011: Always Connected – Never Relaxed.
2012: One step ahead and two steps back.
2014:- No Lighting in sight.
The IT systems in health care do not work any better, as can be discvovered when reading any newspaper. The headlines in the photo to this blog post show some of the recent ones that I could find, and here you see some of the problems in the headlines:
X-ray Care has Large Problems Due to New IT system
Mapping shows: Non-stable IT support in ambulance care
Windows update reason for enormous breakdown at the hospitals in Uppsala
Stockholm cleans up among health care systems – investing 200 millions
Last week I attended a very well organized day related to implementation of psychosocial support and psychological treatment via the internet organized by the U-care programme. There were lots of experienced researchers from all over the world present at the U-care venue, and presentations of relevant areas were mixed with workshops around implementation of IT in health care. Unfortunately, I had to run off a couple of hours in the middle of the day, but next time this kind of venue is organized I will try to attend the whole day.
I especially enjoyed Anders Brantnells presentation of “Implementation of Complex Interventions – What does research say”. In this presentation, he went through relevant theories related to barriers and enablers when implementing, and we then got to discuss them in relation to implementation of IT in primary care.
Some lessons learned from these discussions about implementation were:
- There are indeed numerous models related to implementation of IT. The ones discussed at the U-care event were very related to health care as such, and perhaps it is necessary to have specific models for different areas of application?
- What kind of knowledge is possible to gain from implemenation research as it is done in many health care projects? What is not possible to learn? According to Wikipedia implemenation research is “Often, research projects focus on small scale pilot studies or laboratory-based experiments, and assume that findings can be generalised to roll out into a practice-based domain with few changes.”