HCI Observations on an Oncology Ward: A Fieldworker’s Experience

in CHI 2013 workshop: HCI Fieldwork in Healthcare – Creating a Graduate Guidebook., Conference proceeding


These reflections convey some of my experience when doing a study on the design and use of medical devices in an Oncology Ward. I spent 10 days and 4 nights on the ward doing field research in the form of observations and contextual interviews. I draw out challenges that I faced at a personal, practical and scientific level. Some of these I have learnt from, e.g. some healthcare professionals will be like 'research champions' that can unlock fruitful data whereas others will not; others remain unresolved, e.g. should we focus on the data we have access to or on interesting but infrequent events where we have little data? These and other reflections will hopefully help spark debate and sensitize other researchers who plan to do observational studies in a healthcare context.