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      A qualitative analysis of the effectiveness of telehealthcare devices (i) are they meeting the needs of end-users?

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          There are many telehealthcare devices currently available ranging from personal alarms, automated pill dispensers and fall detectors through to monitoring devices for blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate. Many devices remain unused once acquired or shortly after a period of initial use.


          The study used a qualitative design involving focus groups and interviews. End users’ opinions of telehealthcare devices were examined through focus groups along with the views of market experts and key supply chain players through telephone interviews to ascertain their views on the devices. The data were recorded, transcribed and analysed thematically.


          Amongst the wide range of user issues associated with telehealthcare devices two themes merited particular attention: design characteristics and the lack of focus on end-user needs. Our findings suggested that few telehealthcare devices appear to be developed based on the principles of user-centred design. Consequently, many were non-intuitive to use, with the majority of the focus group participants not recognising the purpose of the devices from their appearance alone.


          Greater input from real end-users rather than “proxy” users such as carers, professional users or technologists is required when developing telehealthcare devices or systems. Design should be focussed on intuitive use to enable the user to successfully achieve what is required from the devices. This may require the existing supplier—driven market focus to be challenged, but could improve the contribution of technology to improving healthcare.

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          The role of the user within the medical device design and development process: medical device manufacturers' perspectives

          Background Academic literature and international standards bodies suggest that user involvement, via the incorporation of human factors engineering methods within the medical device design and development (MDDD) process, offer many benefits that enable the development of safer and more usable medical devices that are better suited to users' needs. However, little research has been carried out to explore medical device manufacturers' beliefs and attitudes towards user involvement within this process, or indeed what value they believe can be added by doing so. Methods In-depth interviews with representatives from 11 medical device manufacturers are carried out. We ask them to specify who they believe the intended users of the device to be, who they consult to inform the MDDD process, what role they believe the user plays within this process, and what value (if any) they believe users add. Thematic analysis is used to analyse the fully transcribed interview data, to gain insight into medical device manufacturers' beliefs and attitudes towards user involvement within the MDDD process. Results A number of high-level themes emerged, relating who the user is perceived to be, the methods used, the perceived value and barriers to user involvement, and the nature of user contributions. The findings reveal that despite standards agencies and academic literature offering strong support for the employment formal methods, manufacturers are still hesitant due to a range of factors including: perceived barriers to obtaining ethical approval; the speed at which such activity may be carried out; the belief that there is no need given the 'all-knowing' nature of senior health care staff and clinical champions; a belief that effective results are achievable by consulting a minimal number of champions. Furthermore, less senior health care practitioners and patients were rarely seen as being able to provide valuable input into the process. Conclusions Medical device manufacturers often do not see the benefit of employing formal human factors engineering methods within the MDDD process. Research is required to better understand the day-to-day requirements of manufacturers within this sector. The development of new or adapted methods may be required if user involvement is to be fully realised.
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            The use of technology at home: what patient manuals say and sell vs. what patients face and fear.

            Over the past 15 years, the use of specialised medical equipment by patients at home has increased in most industrialised countries. Adopting a conceptual framework that brings together two research perspectives, i.e. the sociology of technology and the sociology of illness, this paper empirically examines why and how patients use health technology at home and in the broader social world. Our study compares and contrasts the use of four interventions: antibiotic intravenous therapy, parenteral nutrition, peritoneal dialysis and oxygen therapy. We conducted interviews with patients (n = 16) and caregivers (n = 6), and made direct observations of home visits by nurses (n = 16). The content and structure of patient manuals distributed by major manufacturers and hospitals were analysed (n = 26). The aim of our study was to determine how technology was supposed to be used versus how it was actually used. This study shows that patients are deeply ambivalent about the benefits and drawbacks of technology, and that these advantages and disadvantages are shaped by the various places in which the technology is used. While technology can be pivotal in making patients autonomous and able to participate in the social world, it also imposes heavy restrictions that are intimately interwoven with the nature of the particular disease and with the patient's personal life trajectory.
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              An aging world:2015

               W He,  DA Goodkind,  P Kowal (2016)

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central (London )
                4 July 2017
                4 July 2017
                : 17
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 9297, GRID grid.5491.9, Faculty of Health Sciences Building 67, , University of Southampton, ; Southampton, UK
                [2 ]ISNI 0000 0001 0679 2190, GRID grid.12026.37, Cranfield Biotechnology Centre, , Cranfield University, ; Bedford, UK
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0001 2299 5510, GRID grid.5115.0, Health and Wellbeing Academy, , Anglia Ruskin University, ; Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 1SQ UK
                © The Author(s). 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2017

                Health & Social care

                needs, telehealth, devices, end-users, effectiveness, telecare


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