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Scenarios, personas and user stories from design ethnography: Evidence-based design representations of communicable disease investigations
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    Despite years of effort and millions of dollars spent to create a unified electronic communicable disease reporting systems, the goal remains elusive. A major barrier has been a lack of understanding by system designers of communicable disease (CD) work and the public health workers who perform this work. This study reports on the application of User Center Design representations, traditionally used for improving interface design, to translate the complex CD work identified through ethnographic studies to guide designers and developers of CD systems. The purpose of this work is to: (1) better understand public health practitioners and their information workflow with respect to communicable disease (CD) monitoring and control at a local health department, and (2) to develop evidence-based design representations that model this CD work to inform the design of future disease surveillance systems.


    We performed extensive onsite semi-structured interviews, targeted work shadowing and a focus group to characterize local health department communicable disease workflow. Informed by principles of design ethnography and user-centered design (UCD) we created persona, scenarios and user stories to accurately represent the user to system designers.


    We sought to convey to designers the key findings from ethnographic studies: 1) that public health CD work is mobile and episodic, in contrast to current CD reporting systems, which are stationary and fixed 2) health department efforts are focused on CD investigation and response rather than reporting and 3) current CD information systems must conform to PH workflow to ensure their usefulness. In an effort to illustrate our findings to designers, we developed three contemporary design-support representations: persona, scenario, and user story.


    Through application of user centered design principles, we were able to create design representations that illustrate complex public health communicable disease workflow and key user characteristics to inform the design of CD information systems for public health.

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    1P01CD000261-01/CD/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
    5T15LM007442/LM/NLM NIH HHS/United States
    T15 LM007442/LM/NLM NIH HHS/United States
    T32 NR007106/NR/NINR NIH HHS/United States
    T32NR007106/NR/NINR NIH HHS/United States
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