Appl Clin Inform 2016; 07(01): 22-32
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2015-07-CR-0091
Case Report
Schattauer GmbH

Software prototyping

A case report of refining user requirements for a health information exchange dashboard
Scott D. Nelson
1   Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA
Guilherme Del Fiol
2   University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Haley Hanseler
2   University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Barbara Insley Crouch
2   University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Mollie R. Cummins
2   University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA
› Author Affiliations
We would like to thank Frank Drews, PhD for his help and review. This study was funded by the US Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (1 R01 HS021472–01A1). At the time of this study, Dr. Nelson was supported by the VA Advanced Fellowship Program in Medical Informatics of the Office of Academic Affiliations, Department of Veterans Affairs. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Further Information

Publication History

received: 28 July 2015

accepted: 12 January 2015

Publication Date:
16 December 2017 (online)



Health information exchange (HIE) between Poison Control Centers (PCCs) and Emergency Departments (EDs) could improve care of poisoned patients. However, PCC information systems are not designed to facilitate HIE with EDs; therefore, we are developing specialized software to support HIE within the normal workflow of the PCC using user-centered design and rapid prototyping.


To describe the design of an HIE dashboard and the refinement of user requirements through rapid prototyping.


Using previously elicited user requirements, we designed low-fidelity sketches of designs on paper with iterative refinement. Next, we designed an interactive high-fidelity prototype and conducted scenario-based usability tests with end users. Users were asked to think aloud while accomplishing tasks related to a case vignette. After testing, the users provided feedback and evaluated the prototype using the System Usability Scale (SUS).


Survey results from three users provided useful feedback that was then incorporated into the design. After achieving a stable design, we used the prototype itself as the specification for development of the actual software. Benefits of prototyping included having 1) subject-matter experts heavily involved with the design; 2) flexibility to make rapid changes, 3) the ability to minimize software development efforts early in the design stage; 4) rapid finalization of requirements; 5) early visualization of designs; 6) and a powerful vehicle for communication of the design to the programmers. Challenges included 1) time and effort to develop the prototypes and case scenarios; 2) no simulation of system performance; 3) not having all proposed functionality available in the final product; and 4) missing needed data elements in the PCC information system.