Participatory Design in Biomedical Informatics - Process, Benefits & Challenges

October 20, 2016
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members
Kim M. Unertl, PhD, MS

Biomedical informatics is intrinsically an interdisciplinary field, drawing on theory, methods, and expertise from multiple fields. When it comes to human-centered design of health information technology, biomedical informatics regularly draws on concepts from human factors engineering, usability, and sociotechnical systems. To date, however, the field of Design is underexplored and underutilized in biomedical informatics. Theory and Methods from the Design field, when paired with multiple other theoretical domains, can assist us with improving how health information technology works.

One methodology used in generative design is Participatory Design. In participatory design, intended end users of technology are engaged in the development of new concepts and technology models. Specifically, the approach the webinar will cover is the participatory design workshop methodology. Although on the surface, a design workshop may resemble a focus group, the important distinction involves the hands-on collaborative nature of the design workshop. Participants are engaged in exercises and activities with the goal of understanding individual experiences and eliciting knowledge needed for design of effective interventions. The webinar will cover the basics of participatory design methods, discuss the benefits of incorporating participatory design into research, and cover the challenges of incorporating Design methods into biomedical informatics research. 

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to:

  • Incorporate end user expertise into research studies through application of participatory design approaches.
  • Formulate plans for conducting a participatory design workshop for a research question of individual interest.

Speaker Information

Kim M. Unertl, PhD, MS
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Kim Unertl, PhD, MS, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the intersection between health information technology and workflow. She has a special interest in the design of technology and processes to support chronic disease management for individuals coping with chronic disease, their informal caregivers, and their healthcare providers. Dr. Unertl has also explored potential roles for community-based participatory research in biomedical informatics, seeking to engage more diverse communities in the field. She is the co-founder and co-director of the AMIA High School Scholars Program, an outreach program that brings high school students involved in biomedical informatics research to the annual AMIA Symposium.