Purpose: This paper reports an evaluation of the usability and acceptability of a computer-based decision support program (EMPOWER™) for cardiovascular risk from the perspectives of both general practitioners (GPs) and consumers. Methods: A qualitative research design utilised semi-structured telephone interviews to assess the program from participants' perspectives. Qualitative approaches included the use of purposeful sampling, the collection of open-ended data, and the analysis of text and personal interpretation of findings. The theoretical foundations for the methods chosen are explained. Results: Consumers enjoyed being involved in the study and thought the program had benefits for encouraging confidence in seeking health care. Consumers reported feeling reassured about the processes followed during consultation. GPs found the application of the software program increased demands on their time but admired several features of the program, especially its educational advantages. Participants were of the opinion that the program would be of particular benefit to inexperienced GPs and newly diagnosed patients. Conclusion: Computer decision support programs are becoming more prevalent, but little is known about their usability and acceptability to both health professionals and consumers. The complexities of cardiovascular risk assessment and management can be adequately managed with such programs. As a contemporary report this study contributes to the growing knowledge required for developers of medical software and decision support systems to better understand the needs of end-users.
- Decision aid
- Electronic decision support software
- Medical informatics