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Application of Human Factors Methods: Usability Testing in the Radiation Oncology Environment

H Warkentin

H Warkentin1*, K Bubric2 , H Giovannetti3 , G Graham4 , C Clay5 , (1) Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton, AB, (2) Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB, (3) Jack Ady Cancer Centre, Lethbridge, AB, (4) Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, AB, (5) Central Alberta Cancer Centre, Red Deer, AB


SU-F-T-249 (Sunday, July 31, 2016) 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM Room: Exhibit Hall

Purpose: As a quality improvement measure, we undertook this work to incorporate usability testing into the implementation procedures for new electronic documents and forms used by four affiliated radiation therapy centers.

Methods: A human factors specialist provided training in usability testing for a team of medical physicists, radiation therapists, and radiation oncologists from four radiotherapy centers. A usability testing plan was then developed that included controlled scenarios and standardized forms for qualitative and quantitative feedback from participants, including patients. Usability tests were performed by end users using the same hardware and viewing conditions that are found in the clinical environment. A pilot test of a form used during radiotherapy CT simulation was performed in a single department; feedback informed adaptive improvements to the electronic form, hardware requirements, resource accessibility and the usability testing plan. Following refinements to the testing plan, usability testing was performed at three affiliated cancer centers with different vault layouts and hardware.

Results: Feedback from the testing resulted in the detection of 6 critical errors (omissions and inability to complete task without assistance), 6 non-critical errors (recoverable), and multiple suggestions for improvement. Usability problems with room layout were detected at one center and problems with hardware were detected at one center. Upon amalgamation and summary of the results, three key recommendations were presented to the document's authors for incorporation into the electronic form. Documented inefficiencies and patient safety concerns related to the room layout and hardware were presented to administration along with a request for funding to purchase upgraded hardware and accessories to allow a more efficient workflow within the simulator vault.

Conclusion:By including usability testing as part of the process when introducing any new document or procedure into clinical use, associated risks can be identified and mitigated before patient care and clinical workflow are impacted.

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