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Using participatory design to develop (public) health decision support systems through GIS.

Dredger SM, Kothari A, Morrison J, Sawada M, Crighton EJ, Graham ID - Int J Health Geogr (2007)

Bottom Line: Programmatic changes at the provincial level and staff turnover at the organizational level made it difficult to maintain buy-in as participants changed over time.The impacts of these successes and challenges will be evaluated more concretely at the end of Phase 2.PD approaches, by their very nature, encourage buy-in to the development process, better addresses user-needs, and creates a sense of user-investment and ownership.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, S113-750 Bannatyne Ave, Winnipeg, Canada. michelle_driedger@umanitoba.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Organizations that collect substantial data for decision-making purposes are often characterized as being 'data rich' but 'information poor'. Maps and mapping tools can be very useful for research transfer in converting locally collected data into information. Challenges involved in incorporating GIS applications into the decision-making process within the non-profit (public) health sector include a lack of financial resources for software acquisition and training for non-specialists to use such tools. This on-going project has two primary phases. This paper critically reflects on Phase 1: the participatory design (PD) process of developing a collaborative web-based GIS tool.

Methods: A case study design is being used whereby the case is defined as the data analyst and manager dyad (a two person team) in selected Ontario Early Year Centres (OEYCs). Multiple cases are used to support the reliability of findings. With nine producer/user pair participants, the goal in Phase 1 was to identify barriers to map production, and through the participatory design process, develop a web-based GIS tool suited for data analysts and their managers. This study has been guided by the Ottawa Model of Research Use (OMRU) conceptual framework.

Results: Due to wide variations in OEYC structures, only some data analysts used mapping software and there was no consistency or standardization in the software being used. Consequently, very little sharing of maps and data occurred among data analysts. Using PD, this project developed a web-based mapping tool (EYEMAP) that was easy to use, protected proprietary data, and permit limited and controlled sharing between participants. By providing data analysts with training on its use, the project also ensured that data analysts would not break cartographic conventions (e.g. using a chloropleth map for count data). Interoperability was built into the web-based solution; that is, EYEMAP can read many different standard mapping file formats (e.g. ESRI, MapInfo, CSV).

Discussion: Based on the evaluation of Phase 1, the PD process has served both as a facilitator and a barrier. In terms of successes, the PD process identified two key components that are important to users: increased data/map sharing functionality and interoperability. Some of the challenges affected developers and users; both individually and as a collective. From a development perspective, this project experienced difficulties in obtaining personnel skilled in web application development and GIS. For users, some data sharing barriers are beyond what a technological tool can address (e.g. third party data). Lastly, the PD process occurs in real time; both a strength and a limitation. Programmatic changes at the provincial level and staff turnover at the organizational level made it difficult to maintain buy-in as participants changed over time. The impacts of these successes and challenges will be evaluated more concretely at the end of Phase 2.

Conclusion: PD approaches, by their very nature, encourage buy-in to the development process, better addresses user-needs, and creates a sense of user-investment and ownership.

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Mentions: The organizational context for this project is the Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYCs) in Canada. Canada's federal system consists of ten provinces and three territories that are all signatories on the September 2000 Early Child Development Agreement designed to improve the health of children [41-43]. Ontario is one province that has added substantial provincial funding through the OEYCs to provide programs and services aimed at parents/caregivers with children under six to improve the developmental health of children (see [16]). Figure 1 shows a map of Canada and highlights the general location of our study participants in Ontario (for reasons of participant confidentiality specific regions are not identified).


Using participatory design to develop (public) health decision support systems through GIS.

Dredger SM, Kothari A, Morrison J, Sawada M, Crighton EJ, Graham ID - Int J Health Geogr (2007)

© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2175500&req=5

Mentions: The organizational context for this project is the Ontario Early Years Centres (OEYCs) in Canada. Canada's federal system consists of ten provinces and three territories that are all signatories on the September 2000 Early Child Development Agreement designed to improve the health of children [41-43]. Ontario is one province that has added substantial provincial funding through the OEYCs to provide programs and services aimed at parents/caregivers with children under six to improve the developmental health of children (see [16]). Figure 1 shows a map of Canada and highlights the general location of our study participants in Ontario (for reasons of participant confidentiality specific regions are not identified).

Bottom Line: Programmatic changes at the provincial level and staff turnover at the organizational level made it difficult to maintain buy-in as participants changed over time.The impacts of these successes and challenges will be evaluated more concretely at the end of Phase 2.PD approaches, by their very nature, encourage buy-in to the development process, better addresses user-needs, and creates a sense of user-investment and ownership.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, S113-750 Bannatyne Ave, Winnipeg, Canada. michelle_driedger@umanitoba.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Organizations that collect substantial data for decision-making purposes are often characterized as being 'data rich' but 'information poor'. Maps and mapping tools can be very useful for research transfer in converting locally collected data into information. Challenges involved in incorporating GIS applications into the decision-making process within the non-profit (public) health sector include a lack of financial resources for software acquisition and training for non-specialists to use such tools. This on-going project has two primary phases. This paper critically reflects on Phase 1: the participatory design (PD) process of developing a collaborative web-based GIS tool.

Methods: A case study design is being used whereby the case is defined as the data analyst and manager dyad (a two person team) in selected Ontario Early Year Centres (OEYCs). Multiple cases are used to support the reliability of findings. With nine producer/user pair participants, the goal in Phase 1 was to identify barriers to map production, and through the participatory design process, develop a web-based GIS tool suited for data analysts and their managers. This study has been guided by the Ottawa Model of Research Use (OMRU) conceptual framework.

Results: Due to wide variations in OEYC structures, only some data analysts used mapping software and there was no consistency or standardization in the software being used. Consequently, very little sharing of maps and data occurred among data analysts. Using PD, this project developed a web-based mapping tool (EYEMAP) that was easy to use, protected proprietary data, and permit limited and controlled sharing between participants. By providing data analysts with training on its use, the project also ensured that data analysts would not break cartographic conventions (e.g. using a chloropleth map for count data). Interoperability was built into the web-based solution; that is, EYEMAP can read many different standard mapping file formats (e.g. ESRI, MapInfo, CSV).

Discussion: Based on the evaluation of Phase 1, the PD process has served both as a facilitator and a barrier. In terms of successes, the PD process identified two key components that are important to users: increased data/map sharing functionality and interoperability. Some of the challenges affected developers and users; both individually and as a collective. From a development perspective, this project experienced difficulties in obtaining personnel skilled in web application development and GIS. For users, some data sharing barriers are beyond what a technological tool can address (e.g. third party data). Lastly, the PD process occurs in real time; both a strength and a limitation. Programmatic changes at the provincial level and staff turnover at the organizational level made it difficult to maintain buy-in as participants changed over time. The impacts of these successes and challenges will be evaluated more concretely at the end of Phase 2.

Conclusion: PD approaches, by their very nature, encourage buy-in to the development process, better addresses user-needs, and creates a sense of user-investment and ownership.

Show MeSH