Exploring health intelligence and decision making with design research
PHE ePoster Library. Garattini C. 04/10/19; 259598; 15563
Dr. Chiara Garattini
Dr. Chiara Garattini
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Abstract Introduction

Effective use of knowledge and intelligence is vital for evidence-based decision-making in public health. Public Health England (PHE) delivers a great amount and variety of information to inform decisions. Design research activities were undertaken as part of the Digital Health Intelligence (DHI) project, a PHE digital exemplar. Our aim was to understand the needs of our potential users and inform the design of possible products and services.


Research activities conducted during the 'discovery' phase included one-hour semi-structured interviews (n=29) with public health information handlers and decision-makers and the observation of decision-making meetings (n=3). Data was analysed using mixed methods: qualitative (thematic analysis) and design research (content analysis and empathy maps). Natural Language Processing was employed on anonymised transcripts to explore new ways of clustering interviews and identifying commonalities. Findings were refined and validated through team and internal stakeholder workshops. An approach to evaluate DHI has also been devised and will influence product development.


Findings were organised to: a) summarise the environment in which information flow and decision-making occur, and b) synthesise actionable insights to inform subsequent project phases, including prototyping solutions ('alpha'). We simplified our users into four categories or 'types': 'Data lovers', 'Best practice advocates', 'Translators' and 'Decision-makers'. From these, we created eight 'personas', i.e. representations of our most likely users, and mapped their interactions within and outside of their organisations.

Our work has delivered insights into how some of PHE's data and information products are valued and used. We conclude that the best opportunity for further activity is for a digital product supporting knowledge 'Translators', something that will be explored with similar methods during subsequent phases. Some strengths and weaknesses of traditional academic and design research approaches have also been highlighted and will be discussed. Funding PHE Digital Transformation Programme.
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