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Int J Med Inform. 2017 Aug;104:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2017.05.007. Epub 2017 May 13.

Translating research into practice through user-centered design: An application for osteoarthritis healthcare planning.

Author information

Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 1N4, Canada. Electronic address:
W21C Research and Innovation Centre, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Canada Research Chair Health Systems and Services Research, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Department of Community Health Sciences, Cummings School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.



To identify the needs and requirements of the end users, to inform the development of a user-interface to translate an existing evidence-based decision support tool into a practical and usable interface for health service planning for osteoarthritis (OA) care.


We used a user-centered design (UCD) approach that emphasized the role of the end-users and is well-suited to knowledge translation (KT). The first phase used a needs assessment focus group (n=8) and interviews (n=5) with target users (health care planners) within a provincial health care organization. The second phase used a participatory design approach, with two small group sessions (n=6) to explore workflow, thought processes, and needs of intended users.


The needs assessment identified five design recommendations: ensuring the user-interface supports the target user group, allowing for user-directed data explorations, input parameter flexibility, clear presentation, and provision of relevant definitions. The second phase identified workflow insights from a proposed scenario. Graphs, the need for a visual overview of the data, and interactivity were key considerations to aid in meaningful use of the model and knowledge translation.


A UCD approach is well suited to identify health care planners' requirements when using a decision support tool to improve health service planning and management of OA. We believe this is one of the first applications to be used in planning for health service delivery. We identified specific design recommendations that will increase user acceptability and uptake of the user-interface and underlying decision support tool in practice. Our approach demonstrated how UCD can be used to enable knowledge translation.


Knowledge translation; Osteoarthritis; Participatory research; User-centered design

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