Graduated: January 1, 2010
Characterizing Information Needs for Public Health Continuity of Operations: A Scenario-Based Design Approach
Public health field nurses play a critical role in the community during disasters and emergencies. Continuity of operations planning (COOP) is a recognized part of any emergency management strategy and technology should support the elements of public health COOP through support of routine work activities.However, the work of public health field nurses is characterized by multiple, disparate digital and paper-based information systems that require duplicate data entry, reduce efficiencies in the performance of daily work and create issues during emergencies.
This research project characterized the information needs of public health nurses and nurse supervisors through three specific aims. The first aim consisted of an information needs assessment through a systematic literature review for technology support of public health continuity of operations planning and semi-structured interviews with public health practitioners in two local health jurisdictions. The second aim used scenario-based design and persona creation to develop a conceptual design of an integrated information system that supports the work of public health nurses and nurse supervisors. The third aim used focus groups with public health nurses and other public health staff to validate the information system design in both local health jurisdictions.
Focus group participants validated the conceptual information system design in the following thematic areas: The need for a dynamic, flexible system, support for client service and documentation, workload tracking, staff management, one-time data entry, real-time documentation, communication and data exchange between divisions, integrated scheduling and communication with external providers. Focus group participants corrected perceived errors in design and made additional design recommendations.
The results of this research highlight the importance of involving public health practitioners in the design process for technology that supports their information needs and work activities and can support them during emergencies. In addition, this research shows it is possible to validate and reuse design concepts across local health jurisdictions that have different organizational structures. Reusable design knowledge is an important goal for public health informatics efforts to increase efficiencies through support of standard work practices and reduce the costs of information system projects.
Last Known Position:
Associate Professor, University of Missouri, Sinclair School of Nursing and MU Institute for Data Science and Informatics
George Demiris (Chair), John Hartman, Mark Oberle, Anne Turner, William Welton (GSR)