Participatory Development via User-Involvement - A Case Study about the development of a Web-based Patient-communication system about Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen, Joyce Karreman, Susanne Vonderhorst, Fenne Verhoeven, Jobke Wentzel


This paper describes the participatory development process of a web-based communication system focusing on disease management, particularly infection control of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). These infections are becoming a major public health issue; they can have serious consequences such as pneumonia, sepsis or death [1]. This makes it even more important for people to be provided with up-to-date and reliable information. Users of a bilingual communication system (Dutch and German) participated in the development process via a needs assessment, the co-creation of the content and the system via usability tests, and in the summative evaluation of the usage of the system. The system enabled users to search efficiently and effectively for practical and relevant information. Moreover, we found that the participation of the intended users is a prerequisite to create a fit between the needs and expectations of the end-users, the technology and the social context of usage of technology. The summative evaluation showed that the system was frequently used (approximately 11,000 unique visitors per month). The most popular categories include ‘MRSA in general’ (20%, both languages) and ‘Acquiring MRSA’ (17% NL, 13% GER). Most users enter the site using internet search engines (Google) instead of the on-site search engine. When they are on the site, they prefer convenient searching via FAQ or related questions. Furthermore, the results showed that the participation of stakeholders is a prerequisite for a successful  implementation of the system. To guide the participation of stakeholders we developed a roadmap that integrates human-centered development with business modelling activities.


patient education; infectious diseases; participatory development, human-centered design; business modelling

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