17 November 2010

Michele Visciola on online healthcare information

Be the first to share

Michele Visciola
Michele Visciola, Experientia partner, gave a talk this week on online healthcare information at the 16th IFHRO (International Federation of Health Records Organizations) Congress in Milan, Italy.

The International Federation of Health Records Organizations (IFHRO) serves as a forum for the exchange of information relating to health records, education of medical record personnel, and information technology.

The talk, entitled “Online healthcare information: where is the divide between a trustable and an untrustable information and communication system?”, highlighted how a user-centred approach can be used to provide healthcare information that meets user needs.

Here is the executive summary of his talk:

How and what kind of information is provided by online healthcare services is critical to designing a user-centred system that meets user needs, and does not put individuals’ health at risk. The move of healthcare information to the online world has raised some serious concerns in terms of content and the ways in which the information is used. The paradigm shift from personal consultation with a trusted family doctor to inquiries made to an anonymous or general online source has created a context of self-diagnosis from online information, leading to potential health disasters. The open access to information that was previously the privilege of medical practitioners has created a situation in which the patient’s desire for immediate information conflicts with the need for professional advice.

This research project benchmarked 41 websites, within Italy and internationally, to understand how a user-centred approach can be used to provide healthcare information that meets user needs. The project focused in particular on the needs of patients, and their family and friends.

The healthcare information needs of patients can be grouped into Knowledge, Action and Sharing. “Knowledge” is the inherent information the patient needs about her/his health, such as details on the illness, prevention, care, the health structure, ethics and rights, and well-being. This can be either “cold” information (top-down) or “warm” (bottom-up or horizontal). “Action” includes the reactive and proactive behaviors that the patient can take, while “Sharing” is the exchange of information, experience and emotions with people in similar situations.

The 41 websites explored were selected as best practice in the field, and the ways in which they supported the above classification of user needs was considered. For each of the three areas described above, we identified the ways in which patients’ information requirements were met (or not) by the sites.

When comparing Italian sites to the international sites, we found that the international sites were more developed in terms of interactive and personalization solutions. Within Italy, the least developed areas are Action and Sharing, which are the most complex categories and play a fundamental role in the patient’s world. The “cold” top-down information was the most complete and organized, while there was little space dedicated to horizontal communication. The Italian sites tended to present one-way, pre-packaged communication that focused on “useful” information, but ignored “emotional” aspects. Regardless of the local cultural dimensions that are not considered in this study, we recommend that online healthcare information should focus on improving the following at the 3 identified levels: “Knowledge”: provide real possibilities for knowledge through presentations and memos. “Action”: Give people the chance to participate in assessing what they need to do. “Sharing”: Provide instruments for sharing and discussion.

Be the first to share
27 March 2015
Sharp methodological critiques on current Big Data practices
Two methodological critiques on Big Data that caught our attention: In the Financial Times, economist and journalist Tim Harford points out that sampling bias and statistical errors are, if anything, magnified in Big Data research, …
26 March 2015
Gov.uk’s open policy making toolkit – practical guidance on ethnography and more
The Gov.uk open policy making toolkit is a practical guide to techniques that can help you make better policy. The toolkit, which brings together the latest techniques to improve making and delivering policy, is based on …
24 March 2015
Ethnographic research drives IKEA’s global success
In a long Fortune Magazine article on IKEA's successful global expansion, author Beth Kowitt devotes quite a few paragraphs to the importance of qualitative, ethnographic research: "Today research is at the heart of Ikea’s expansion. “The …
23 March 2015
Doctors are now inviting patients to help design their own medical treatment
In many hospitals and clinics around the [USA], oncologists and surgeons simply tell cancer patients what treatments they should have, or at least give them strong recommendations. But [at UC San Francisco], under a formal …
22 March 2015
Why face-to-face contact matters in our digital age
Psychologist Susan Pinker on the importance of face-to-face contact in our era of disbanded families and virtual connections. "Research shows that people who feel socially disconnected are at a greater risk of dying young – especially …
16 March 2015
EPIC conference calls for papers and tutorials
EPIC, the premier international gathering on the current and future practice of ethnography and design in the business world, will take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil this year. The EPIC 2015 program committee is now calling …
16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years
Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare …
12 March 2015
Nudging and Choice Architecture: Ethical Considerations
Nudging and Choice Architecture: Ethical Considerations by Cass R. Sunstein Yale Journal on Regulation January 17, 2015 50 pages Is nudging unethical? Is choice architecture a problem for a free society? This essay defends seven propositions: It is pointless to …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles