Participatory user requirements elicitation, validation, and prioritization for tele-otology app in deprived populations

Int J Med Inform. 2022 Nov:167:104869. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2022.104869. Epub 2022 Sep 21.


Background: The timely and accurate diagnosis of ENT (Ear, Nose, and throat) diseases in deprived areas is very important due to the increased burden of the disease in high-risk populations. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify, validate and prioritize the information needs of stakeholders of a tele-otology system for diagnosing ear diseases and to provide a solution.

Material and methods: In this study, to identify the information need of the stakeholders and prioritize them, the spiral-iterative model was used. Data were obtained through direct observation, interviews with 23 stakeholders (6 ENT specialist doctors, 3 health center managers, 2 patients, and 12 health facilitators), and a survey among all ENT specialists and residents (n = 49), working in Kerman province, Iran. Finally, based on the study findings, the important information needs of the stakeholders were considered as the input for developing the tele-otology software.

Results: In the observation phase, the workflow of the tele-otology system was developed. In the interview phase, 4 main themes including patient information; Technology and communication; Policy, guidelines, and requirements; Facilitator skills and knowledge were determined. In total, the four categories of the iterative-spiral model including strategic, patient information, commercial and technical with 8, 9, 3, and 9 sub-categories, respectively, were prioritized by specialists which were considered as input for system development.

Conclusion: By applying the spiral-iterative model, the prototype included a mobile app and server system was developed. In the final solution, the possibility of capturing patient history and video images was provided for facilitators to help physicians in effective diagnosis. The results of this study, while identifying the workflow of service providers and determining their information needs can help telemedicine system developers to have an optimal design when designing systems for the diagnosis of ear disease.

Keywords: Deprived populations; Tele-otology; Telemedicine; User requirements; m-Health.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Otolaryngology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine* / methods