The majority of all developed digital health technologies do not reach successful implementation. A discrepancy among technology design, the context of use, and user needs and values is identified as the main reason for this failure. Value-sensitive design (VSD) is a design method enabling to align design with user values by embedding values in technology, yet the method is lacking clear heuristics for practical application. To improve the successful design and implementation of digital health, we propose and evaluate a stepwise approach to VSD.
The approach consists of the phases: experiment, demonstrate, and validate. Experiment takes place in an office to create makeshift solutions. Demonstrate takes place in a mock-up environment and aims to optimize design requirements through user feedback. The validate phase takes place in an authentic care situation and studies how the novel technology affects current workflows.
We applied the stepwise VSD approach to the design of a hospital-based ambient intelligence solution for remotely and continuously monitoring quality and safety of patient care. We particularly focused on embodiment of the values of safety, privacy, and inclusiveness in the design. Design activities of the experiment and demonstrate phase are discussed.
A stepwise approach to VSD enables a design to optimally meet the values of all users involved, while aligning the design process with the practical limitations of healthcare institutions. We discuss some benefits and challenges related to VSD and the potential for transfer of this approach to other digital health solutions.
Merlijn Smits Metin Nacar Geke D.S. Ludden Harry van Goor