Health informatics application developers should better align IT products with patients’ daily social interactions and activities to boost engagement in self-care technology, according to a Perspective published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, FierceHealthIT reports (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 8/18).
Details of Perspective
The Perspective was written by:
- Rupa Valdez of the University of Virginia;
- Richard Holden of Vanderbilt University;
- Laurie Novak of Vanderbilt University; and
- Tiffany Veinot of the University of Michigan (Valdez et al., JAMIA, 8/14).
In the Perspective, the authors referred to the effort that patients and family members make for health care maintenance as “patient work,” which can include both physical and mental tasks ( FierceHealthIT, 8/18).
They noted that a “patient work approach to [consumer health informatics] draws on medical social science and human factors engineering models and simultaneously attends to patients, their family members, activities and context” (JAMIA, 8/14).
In order to better align technology with patient work and patient desires, the authors identified five key components technology developers should consider, including:
- The individuals involved;
- The physical environment;
- The social-organizational environment;
- The tasks to be completed; and
- The tools that will be used.
The authors noted that if health technology used by patients adequately addresses those components, there is an increased likelihood that patients will perform a task correctly and use IT tools to self-manage their health (FierceHealthIT, 8/18).
According to the Perspective, future research is necessary to improve:
- Techniques for incorporating knowledge and understanding of patient work into the design of consumer health applications;
- Theories of patient work; and
- Ways to analyze patient work.
The authors concluded, “Advancing a patient work approach within [consumer health informatics] is integral to developing and deploying consumer-facing technologies that are integrated with patients’ everyday lives” (JAMIA, 8/14).