Bridging the Gap Between Academic Research and Pragmatic Needs in Usability: A Hybrid Approach to Usability Evaluation of Health Care Information Systems

Devin M Mann, Sara Kuppin Chokshi, Andre Kushniruk
2018 JMIR Human Factors  
Technology is increasingly embedded into the full spectrum of health care. This movement has benefited from the application of software development practices such as usability testing and agile development processes. These practices are frequently applied in both commercial or operational and academic settings. However, the relative importance placed on rapid iteration, validity, reproducibility, generalizability, and efficiency differs between the 2 settings and the needs and objectives of
more » ... emic versus pragmatic usability evaluations. Objective: This paper explores how usability evaluation typically varies on key dimensions in pragmatic versus academic settings that impact the rapidity, validity, and reproducibility of findings and proposes a hybrid approach aimed at satisfying both pragmatic and academic objectives. Methods: We outline the characteristics of pragmatic versus academically oriented usability testing in health care, describe the tensions and gaps resulting from differing contexts and goals, and present a model of this hybrid process along with 2 case studies of digital development projects in which we demonstrate this integrated approach to usability evaluation. Results: The case studies presented illustrate design choices characteristic of our hybrid approach to usability evaluation. Conclusions: Designed to leverage the strengths of both pragmatically and academically focused usability studies, a hybrid approach allows new development projects to efficiently iterate and optimize from usability data as well as preserves the ability of these projects to produce deeper insights via thorough qualitative analysis to inform further tool development and usability research by way of academically focused dissemination.
doi:10.2196/10721 pmid:30487119 fatcat:y565kibzmzbolnqyeiuzibteti