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      Design and Evaluation in eHealth: Challenges and Implications for an Interdisciplinary Field

      other
      , PhD
      (Reviewer), (Reviewer)
      Journal of Medical Internet Research
      Gunther Eysenbach
      Medical informatics, software development, evaluation, interdisciplinarity

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          Abstract

          Much has been written about insufficient user involvement in the design of eHealth applications, the lack of evidence demonstrating impact, and the difficulties these bring for adoption. Part of the problem lies in the differing languages, cultures, motives, and operational constraints of producers and evaluators of eHealth systems and services. This paper reflects on the benefits of and barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration in eHealth, focusing particularly on the relationship between software developers and health services researchers. It argues that the common pattern of silo or parallel working may be ameliorated by developing mutual awareness and respect for each others’ methods, epistemologies, and contextual drivers and by recognizing and harnessing potential synergies. Similarities and differences between models and techniques used in both communities are highlighted in order to illustrate the potential for integrated approaches and the strengths of unique paradigms. By sharing information about our research approaches and seeking to actively collaborate in the process of design and evaluation, the aim of achieving technologies that are truly user-informed, fit for context, high quality, and of demonstrated value is more likely to be realized. This may involve embracing new ways of working jointly that are unfamiliar to the stakeholders involved and that challenge disciplinary conventions. It also has policy implications for agencies commissioning research and development in this area.

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          Most cited references59

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          Systematic review: impact of health information technology on quality, efficiency, and costs of medical care.

          Experts consider health information technology key to improving efficiency and quality of health care. To systematically review evidence on the effect of health information technology on quality, efficiency, and costs of health care. The authors systematically searched the English-language literature indexed in MEDLINE (1995 to January 2004), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Cochrane Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, and the Periodical Abstracts Database. We also added studies identified by experts up to April 2005. Descriptive and comparative studies and systematic reviews of health information technology. Two reviewers independently extracted information on system capabilities, design, effects on quality, system acquisition, implementation context, and costs. 257 studies met the inclusion criteria. Most studies addressed decision support systems or electronic health records. Approximately 25% of the studies were from 4 academic institutions that implemented internally developed systems; only 9 studies evaluated multifunctional, commercially developed systems. Three major benefits on quality were demonstrated: increased adherence to guideline-based care, enhanced surveillance and monitoring, and decreased medication errors. The primary domain of improvement was preventive health. The major efficiency benefit shown was decreased utilization of care. Data on another efficiency measure, time utilization, were mixed. Empirical cost data were limited. Available quantitative research was limited and was done by a small number of institutions. Systems were heterogeneous and sometimes incompletely described. Available financial and contextual data were limited. Four benchmark institutions have demonstrated the efficacy of health information technologies in improving quality and efficiency. Whether and how other institutions can achieve similar benefits, and at what costs, are unclear.
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            Empirical studies assessing the quality of health information for consumers on the world wide web: a systematic review.

            The quality of consumer health information on the World Wide Web is an important issue for medicine, but to date no systematic and comprehensive synthesis of the methods and evidence has been performed. To establish a methodological framework on how quality on the Web is evaluated in practice, to determine the heterogeneity of the results and conclusions, and to compare the methodological rigor of these studies, to determine to what extent the conclusions depend on the methodology used, and to suggest future directions for research. We searched MEDLINE and PREMEDLINE (1966 through September 2001), Science Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), Social Sciences Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (1997 through September 2001), LISA (1969 through July 2001), CINAHL (1982 through July 2001), PsychINFO (1988 through September 2001), EMBASE (1988 through June 2001), and SIGLE (1980 through June 2001). We also conducted hand searches, general Internet searches, and a personal bibliographic database search. We included published and unpublished empirical studies in any language in which investigators searched the Web systematically for specific health information, evaluated the quality of Web sites or pages, and reported quantitative results. We screened 7830 citations and retrieved 170 potentially eligible full articles. A total of 79 distinct studies met the inclusion criteria, evaluating 5941 health Web sites and 1329 Web pages, and reporting 408 evaluation results for 86 different quality criteria. Two reviewers independently extracted study characteristics, medical domains, search strategies used, methods and criteria of quality assessment, results (percentage of sites or pages rated as inadequate pertaining to a quality criterion), and quality and rigor of study methods and reporting. Most frequently used quality criteria used include accuracy, completeness, readability, design, disclosures, and references provided. Fifty-five studies (70%) concluded that quality is a problem on the Web, 17 (22%) remained neutral, and 7 studies (9%) came to a positive conclusion. Positive studies scored significantly lower in search (P =.02) and evaluation (P =.04) methods. Due to differences in study methods and rigor, quality criteria, study population, and topic chosen, study results and conclusions on health-related Web sites vary widely. Operational definitions of quality criteria are needed.
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              A spiral model of software development and enhancement

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                J Med Internet Res
                JMIR
                Journal of Medical Internet Research
                Gunther Eysenbach (Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, Toronto, Canada )
                1438-8871
                Apr-Jun 2007
                27 May 2007
                : 9
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1] 1Division of Community Health Sciences (General Practice Section), University of EdinburghEdinburghUnited Kingdom
                Article
                v9i2e15
                10.2196/jmir.9.2.e15
                1913937
                17537718
                f65009b8-4eb0-4e95-8ae5-04bf73c85057
                © Claudia Pagliari. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org, 27.05.2007). Except where otherwise noted, articles published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, including full bibliographic details and the URL (see "please cite as" above), and this statement is included.
                Categories
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                Medicine
                medical informatics,software development,evaluation,interdisciplinarity
                Medicine
                medical informatics, software development, evaluation, interdisciplinarity

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