The relevance of user evaluation for e-health-application in the homecare setting (paper)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper


BACKGROUND: Within the broad field of e-health specific attention is being paid to telehomecare applications. In this domain more attention has to be paid on the intertwining of technological design and the contexts of use. In order to optimise an effective and efficient implementation of telehomecare technology the user perspective needs particular attention. Lessons can especially be learned from the social construction of technology literature focussing on the technology as an artefact and the social context in which the technology is embedded and from evaluation research.

OBECTIVE: We will demonstrate the importance of User Needs assessment, knowledge and insight in the particularities of the healthcare sector as a critical part of the design and implementation of telehealth applications.

METHODS: Experiences in two pilot telehomecare projects in Belgium, demonstrate the added value of user evaluation research. The first project designed and introduced a telemonitoring application (blood pressure and glycaemia) in the homecare sector. The second project is the development of an eHomecare platform supporting the care process of patients in the primary healthcare sector.
Using a constructive technology assessment (CTA) approach the follow-up, development and introduction of the telehomecare applications in the primary healthcare field is being done. The perspectives of the different stakeholders, with their own needs, expectations and values, are studied, evaluated and integrated in an evaluation framework, and taken into account when designing and implementing the technology.

RESULTS: The institutional field of healthcare plays an important role in the use and acceptance of telehealth applications. In healthcare, consumer behaviour is to a large degree triggered by the package of reimbursed care (e.g. resistance of future use of telemonitoring applications by diabetes patients because of non-repayment). Specific requirements of homecare applications are identified when doing user needs research (e.g. guaranteeing mobility, usability aspects, particular needs for particular pathologies). Furthermore, user research clearly demonstrates stakeholders values and interests. The existing tension between the medical and paramedical domain can induce resistance from certain users (e.g. general practitioners who refuse interference by homecare nurses in their medical field).

CONCLUSION: A thorough understanding of the social and healthcare culture and structure is essential for the acceptance, acceptability and feasibility of an application. The healthcare field is characterised by specific financial features, power relations, organisational aspects and needs of different types of users, which partially determines the successes and failures of e-health-systems. These insights and considerations need to be integrated developing and implementing future telehomecare applications.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMed-e-Tel 2006 Proceedings. The International Trade Event and Conference for eHealth, Telemedicine and Health ICT, April 2006, Luxembourg
EditorsM. Jordanova, F. Lievens
Number of pages378
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2006
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009


ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet

Bibliographical note

M. Jordanova, F. Lievens


  • e-health
  • user needs assessment
  • evaluation research
  • telehomecare applications


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