Lessons learned from the usability assessment of home-based telemedicine systems

Appl Ergon. 2017 Jan;58:424-434. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.08.003. Epub 2016 Aug 12.


At-home telemedicine visits are quickly becoming an acceptable alternative for in-person patient visits. However, little work has been done to understand the usability of these home-based telemedicine solutions. It is critical for user acceptance and real-world applicability to evaluate available telemedicine solutions within the context-specific needs of the users of this technology. To address this need, this study evaluated the usability of four home-based telemedicine software platforms: Doxy.me, Vidyo, VSee, and Polycom. Using a within-subjects experimental design, twenty participants were asked to complete a telemedicine session involving several tasks using the four platforms. Upon completion of these tasks for each platform, participants completed the IBM computer system usability questionnaire (CSUQ) and the NASA Task Load Index test. Upon completing the tasks on all four platforms, the participants completed a final post-test subjective questionnaire ranking the platforms based on their preference. Of the twenty participants, 19 completed the study. Statistically significant differences among the telemedicine software platforms were found for task completion time, total workload, mental demand, effort, frustration, preference ranking and computer system usability scores. Usability problems with installation and account creation led to high mental demand and task completion time, suggesting the participants preferred a system without such requirements. Majority of the usability issues were identified at the telemedicine initiation phase. The findings from this study can be used by software developers to develop user-friendly telemedicine systems.

Keywords: Home-based video telemedicine systems; Telehealth; Telemedicine; Usability; User experience.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Consumer Behavior*
  • Female
  • Frustration
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Telemedicine*
  • Time Factors
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Workload
  • Young Adult