The Role of Qualitative Methods in Designing Health Care
Environment and Behavior
Qualitative research methodologies can play an important role in health care
design as they can provide contextual data about health care settings—specifically
the people, processes, and patterns that make up the daily work of providing
health care. Health care is provided in complex environments with intricate
webs of relationships, which represent the multiple interactions with people,
information, technology, culture, and the physical environment in which the
care is provided. One could ask, “Is good design possible without an understanding
of the context in which the work occurs?” Qualitative methods can capture
the experiential aspects of design and usability; however, certain qualitative
methods are better suited to capture the complexity of health care. These include
observations, focus groups, and interviews, which are discussed in depth.
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