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Aligning Consumer Health Informatics Tools with Patient Work: Strategies for Fieldwork in Home and Community Settings

Consumer health informatics (CHI) tools such as personal health records, online health communities, and remote monitoring systems are being developed to support patients in this role. However, patient use of CHI tools is often suboptimal, and there is mixed evidence regarding intervention effectiveness, efficiency, and patient-centeredness. Thus, while the potential benefits of CHI tools have been demonstrated, it is clear that new design and implementation methods are required. Jimison and colleagues’ review showed that design and implementation approaches facilitating integration of CHI tools into users’ daily routines may lead to more extensive adoption of these technologies. Building on this insight, this webinar presents two complimentary theoretical frameworks that hold promise for achieving such daily routine integration through simultaneous attention to patient, family members, activity, and context. Application of these frameworks requires fieldwork in home and community settings. The present tutorial responds to participants’ request for further instruction related to the practical challenges and strategies associated with conducting this CHI-related fieldwork. While some of these challenges and strategies overlap with those associated with fieldwork in more controlled health care institutional settings, many are unique to patients’ home and community living environments. Application exercises in this webinar will focus on 1) identifying challenges related to gaining access to home and community environments, conducting data collection activities in these environments, and translating the data generated into design guidance for CHI tools and 2) selecting strategies to address these challenges that balance the needs of community participants, the needs of the research/design team, and the integrity of the project.


Richard J. Holden
is assistant professor of BioHealth Informatics at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing, Indianapolis. He received a joint PhD in industrial engineering and psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009. Dr. Holden’s research applies human factors engineering and psychology to study and improve the work performance of patients, informal caregivers, and clinicians. He has investigated multiple healthcare interventions, including information technology, team-based care, and lean process redesign. He has participated in 13 grants from the National Institutes of Health, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and other federal agencies. Dr. Holden has authored over 80 scholarly works in the fields of human factors, patient safety and quality, biomedical informatics, and research methods.

Laurie Lovett Novak, PhD, MHSA is Assistant Professor in the Vanderbilt University Department of Biomedical Informatics. Her research examines the routinized, everyday practices of patients and health care workers. Domains of study have included: 1) everyday management of diabetes, pregnancy, cardiac disease, and asthma, 2) medication administration in the inpatient setting, including practitioners’ understandings of risk and safety, 2) information security beliefs and practices in organizations, and 4) care coordination. The impact of new technology and other disruptions on routines has been a key focus of Dr. Novak’s research. In the VU graduate program in biomedical informatics, she teaches qualitative methods, evaluation methods, and organizational studies.

Dr. Novak obtained her PhD in medical and organizational Anthropology at Wayne State University, and a masters degree in Health Services Management and Policy from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She is currently the chair of the People and Organizational Issues Working Group in the American Medical Informatics Association.


Rupa S. , PhD received her PhD at the University of Wisconsin in 2012. She is a human factors engineer and informaticist who has conducted research and lectured on topics at the intersection of consumer health IT, human factors engineering, public health, and cultural anthropology. Her work has a strong focus on underserved populations, including racial/ethnic minorities and individuals living with disabilities. Dr. Valdez has received research support from multiple federal organizations and has provided consulting services to the National Academies of Science, the VA, and AHRQ. She served on the steering committee for AMIA's Health Policy Meeting on Advancing Patient Centered Care, Collaboration, Communication, and Coordination and as co-chair for the Health IT Track of the 2014 International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care. She is an assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Virginia.

Christopher L. Simpson, MA is a Research Manager in the Vanderbilt University Department of Biomedical Informatics. He coordinates and conducts research projects using qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. Domains of study have included: 1) everyday management of diabetes, pregnancy, and cardiac disease 2) medication administration in the inpatient setting 3) understanding information exchange between breast cancer patients and providers during chemotherapy treatment 3) evaluation of the High School Scholars program for AMIA, and 4) care coordination in outpatient clinics. Areas of research interest include minority health disparities, community engaged research and environmental determinants of health.

Mr. Simpson obtained his Master of Arts degree in Medical and Urban Anthropology at the University of Memphis, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology (focus on Archaeology) from Middle Tennessee State University.