Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Medical Internet Research


Geisel School of Medicine

Additional Department

Department of Computer Science


Background: Providing digital recordings of clinic visits to patients has emerged as a strategy to promote patient and family engagement in care. With advances in natural language processing, an opportunity exists to maximize the value of visit recordings for patients by automatically tagging key visit information (eg, medications, tests, and imaging) and linkages to trustworthy web-based resources curated in an audio-based personal health library. Objective: This study aims to report on the user-centered development of HealthPAL, an audio personal health library. Methods: Our user-centered design and usability evaluation approach incorporated iterative rounds of video-recorded sessions from 2016 to 2019. We recruited participants from a range of community settings to represent older patient and caregiver perspectives. In the first round, we used paper prototypes and focused on feature envisionment. We moved to low-fidelity and high-fidelity versions of the HealthPAL in later rounds, which focused on functionality and use; all sessions included a debriefing interview. Participants listened to a deidentified, standardized primary care visit recording before completing a series of tasks (eg, finding where a medication was discussed in the recording). In the final round, we recorded the patients' primary care clinic visits for use in the session. Findings from each round informed the agile software development process. Task completion and critical incidents were recorded in each round, and the System Usability Scale was completed by participants using the digital prototype in later rounds. Results: We completed 5 rounds of usability sessions with 40 participants, of whom 25 (63%) were women with a median age of 68 years (range 23-89). Feedback from sessions resulted in color-coding and highlighting of information tags, a more prominent play button, clearer structure to move between one's own recordings and others' recordings, the ability to filter recording content by the topic discussed and descriptions, 10-second forward and rewind controls, and a help link and search bar. Perceived usability increased over the rounds, with a median System Usability Scale of 78.2 (range 20-100) in the final round. Participants were overwhelmingly positive about the concept of accessing a curated audio recording of a clinic visit. Some participants reported concerns about privacy and the computer-based skills necessary to access recordings. Conclusions: To our knowledge, HealthPAL is the first patient-centered app designed to allow patients and their caregivers to access easy-to-navigate recordings of clinic visits, with key concepts tagged and hyperlinks to further information provided. The HealthPAL user interface has been rigorously co-designed with older adult patients and their caregivers and is now ready for further field testing. The successful development and use of HealthPAL may help improve the ability of patients to manage their own care, especially older adult patients who have to navigate complex treatment plans.



Original Citation

Barr P, Haslett W, Dannenberg M, Oh L, Elwyn G, Hassanpour S, Bonasia K, Finora J, Schoonmaker J, Onsando W, Ryan J, Bruce M, Das A, Arend R, Piper S, Ganoe C An Audio Personal Health Library of Clinic Visit Recordings for Patients and Their Caregivers (HealthPAL): User-Centered Design Approach J Med Internet Res 2021;23(10):e25512 URL: DOI: 10.2196/25512