Interactive Symptom Assessment And Collection (ISAAC): a qualitative usability study of an electronic tool at the British Columbia Cancer Agency




Slager, Stacey Lee

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Information technologies are making their way into health care. While they have been primarily in the domain of the health care providers, applications are being created for use by patients. This qualitative study looks at the usability of an electronic tool with a broader view of patient-as-user; the research question asks how this tool stands up to an assessment of the tool’s usability. Usability seeks to find out how easy a system is to use, whether the system is acceptable, and whether the system is enjoyable to use. Qualitative description techniques were employed for a broader perspective on the usability results. Key findings indicate that patients need to be in control of the process of using self-reporting tools; patients want to be able to use these applications at home; computer technologies do not replace the need for human contact in the health care setting; self-reporting assessment tools can give a voice to patients who are otherwise silent; privacy concerns must be handled. Few studies have attempted to look at patients as they use electronic applications, but if we want patients to use them, tools need to be designed with the patient-as-user in mind, considering diverse levels of functioning among patients.



usability, patient experience, symptom assessment, qualitative description