gms | German Medical Science

64. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V. (GMDS)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie

08. - 11.09.2019, Dortmund

Assessment of Usability and Evaluation of a Platform which Supports Narcolepsy Treatment

Meeting Abstract

  • Johannes Wutzkowsky - Fachhochschule Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
  • Civan Ayyüce - FH Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
  • Britta Böckmann - FH Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie. 64. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e.V. (GMDS). Dortmund, 08.-11.09.2019. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2019. DocAbstr. 109

doi: 10.3205/19gmds140, urn:nbn:de:0183-19gmds1406

Published: September 6, 2019

© 2019 Wutzkowsky et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Introduction: Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disease that is associated with a disturbed sleep-wake regulation as well as neuropsychiatric and metabolic symptoms [1]. The adherence to a consistent daily structure and behavioural techniques are listed as recommended self-management measures [2]. Recently, we developed a narcolepsy platform to support self-management and information exchange between patients and their sleep specialist [3]. The patients can use the app to document their disease-related symptoms and behaviour which can be shared with the physician. Vice versa, the physician can provide information regarding sleeping schedules and medication-plans, diet recommendations, and questionnaires. In this work, we give preliminary results of a two-stage usability-study conducted to examine if the platform meets the user’s needs.

Methods: A pre-test with 5 stationary narcolepsy patients (age 21-46, 3 male) including methods such as thinking aloud and interviews was conducted using the app on a single device. Subsequently a long-term test (14 days) with 4 patients (age 26-55, 4 female) and their personal devices was conducted. Journals for documenting app usage were given to the patients and evaluated after the test period. Moreover, log-file analysis and qualitative interviews were performed.

Results: In the pre-test the participants performed specific tasks (e.g. answer Epworth Sleepiness Scale [4]). All participants described the guidance in the app as understandable and intuitive. The participants rated the completeness of the provided functionality to record symptom-related data with 40% agreement and 40% denial.

During the long-term test a total of 29 comments were acquired concerning different aspects of the app functionality and anomalies as well as new requirements. These findings were assigned to the ISO 9241-110 dialogue principles with the three most assigned categories being: “Suitability for the task” which includes missing input options (e.g. hallucinations) (27.7%), “conformity with user expectations” which includes erroneous display of dialog components due to different devices and unclear information-visualisation (e.g. colour-coding) (24,1%), and “customizability” which involves lack of individualism (e.g. configurating individual reminders) (20.7%).

Log-file analysis showed that 66 sleeps were documented by three out of four participants while the remaining did not use this functionality. Due to the disturbed sleep-wake regulation, the total number of occurring sleeps during the study could not be determined. However, in relation to all nights (3*14=42), this underlines frequent use. Sleep times were recorded in average 03:21 hours after awakening. All participants stated that they filled all questionnaires provided by the physician. Log-file analysis revealed that four questionnaires from the requested 45 (8.8%) were answered.

Discussion: In this work, we assessed if the narcolepsy platform meets the participants needs by conducting a usability-study. Despite the small number of participants the preliminary findings indicate adequate usability and frequent usage by most of the participants for specific tasks, which is also confirmed by the log-files. However, in contrast to the patients verbal statements, approximately 10% of the questionnaires provided were completed only. Therefore, we will address user motivation in future work by adding new functions, such as individual reminders and evaluating the gamification principle.

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

The authors declare that an ethics committee vote is not required.


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