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Human-centered approaches to eliciting requirements for medical equipment selection are recognized as improving healthcare outcomes, safety, and end-user satisfaction. Nevertheless, there are many challenges to conducting rigorous investigations to identify requirements that satisfy different hospital services and types of end users (e.g., patients, healthcare professionals, and clinical engineers). By establishing a systematic method for selecting medical recliners, this study provides detailed technical characteristics and user requirements associated with several hospital areas, as well as a comparison between two end users (health professionals and patients) and their different perceptions of usability.
First, clinical engineers and senior nurses from seven hospital services identified and rated the technical characteristics of medical recliners. Ratings were then used to stratify all services in well-defined similar groups using hierarchical and non-hierarchical clustering algorithms. Next, users of hospital recliners (60 patients and 56 healthcare providers) from each group were interviewed to identify their requirements for an ideal medical recliner. Finally, analyses of variance were performed to identify consensus decisions from users across the different hospital contexts as to which technical characteristics were the most relevant.
The contribution of senior nurses and clinical engineers led to the identification of 41 technical characteristics. The analysis of 116 participant interviews identified 95 different requirements, extracted from 1,052 user suggestions. Correspondence analysis of the most important requirements, combined for each of the three stratified service groups, indicated that two-thirds of all user requirements (14 out of 20) were fulfilled by five out of 32 quantitative technical characteristics, regardless of context.
Human-centered methods can identify similarities between health technology characteristics and decrease the complexity associated with selecting technologies, while simultaneously fulfilling the requirements of multiple users and hospital departments.