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Contextual inquiry: discovering physicians' true needs.

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Section of Medical Informatics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


Gathering user requirements that represent the true needs of the users is a challenge. There are many elicitation methods in use today, but they generally are not successful in identifying a comprehensive set of requirements that reflect the users' true needs. This paper describes the requirements gathering method, Contextual Inquiry, that we used to generate physician requirements for a comprehensive Clinical Information System. We feel that this method has advantages over traditional techniques such as surveys, questionnaires, traditional interviews, and focus groups, in obtaining a more comprehensive analysis of the true needs of the users.

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