Evaluation of Home Health Care Devices: Remote Usability Assessment
Kortum, Philip; Peres, S. Camille
Background: An increasing amount of health care is now performed in a home setting, away from the hospital. While there is growing anecdotal evidence about the difficulty patients and caregivers have using increasingly complex health care devices in the home, there has been little systematic scientific study to quantify the global nature of home health care device usability in the field. Research has tended to focus on a handful of devices, making it difficult to gain a broad view of the usability of home-care devices in general. Objective: The objective of this paper is to describe a remote usability assessment method using the System Usability Scale (SUS), and to report on the usability of a broad range of health care devices using this metric. Methods: A total of 271 participants selected and rated up to 10 home health care devices of their choice using the SUS, which scores usability from 0 (unusable) to 100 (highly usable). Participants rated a total of 455 devices in their own home without an experimenter present. Results: Usability scores ranged from 98 (oxygen masks) to 59 (home hormone test kits). An analysis conducted on devices that had at least 10 ratings showed that the effect of device on SUS scores was significant (P<.001), and that the usability of these devices was on the low end when compared with other commonly used items in the home, such as microwave ovens and telephones. Conclusions: A large database of usability scores for home health care devices collected using this remote methodology would be beneficial for physicians, patients, and their caregivers.
health care evaluation mechanisms; human-computer interaction design and evaluation methods; patient satisfaction; usability testing