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Preparing Health Informatics Tools for Usability Study Research

Information science has a supportive user-orientation and technology research background that make working in usability or human factors seem natural. In addition, human-computer interactions have been studied by IS for years. Is the user experience effective? What are the issues? Are search results useful? Cognitive psychology and ergonomics give us methods to use in researching usability.

This webinar will describe research with graduate students and early proposals for front-end tools to improve decision making when searching for health information. There is a need for focus and decision support in searching large medical and health care databases, PUB MED, the web, and big data stores or warehouses. Why not a front end to search tools that helps the user determine healthcare areas of personal interest to search? If we provide a front-end tool, is it usable and well designed for the user experience?


Dr. Deborah Swain, Associate Professor, North Carolina Central University (NCCU), School of Library and Information Sciences will present usability studies in health informatics from 2014-2016 that looked at diabetes, heart disease, and migraine headaches. Findings are being collected for improving the designs of decision support and expert system prototypes. Student, consultant, and faculty projects can use open source or educational software to build similar tools for health assessment without diagnosing—which is not our job. User responses have been informative in pilot projects. Building the back-end data analytics will be subject-based and may improve the distribution of health information.