Skip to Main Content


Fieldwork for Healthcare: Case Studies Investigating Human Factors in Computing Systems:  Co-Edited by Dr. Helena Mentis

The Department of Information Systems is Proud to Announce the Release of a New Book Co- Edited by IS Faculty Helena Mentis, PhD.  To purchase or comment go to:

Description of Fieldwork for Healthcare: Case Studies….

helena book 1Performing fieldwork in healthcare settings is significantly different from fieldwork in other domains and it presents unique challenges to researchers. Whilst results are reported in research papers, the details of how to actually perform these fieldwork studies are not.

This is the first of two volumes designed as a collective graduate guidebook for conducting fieldwork in healthcare. This volume brings together the experiences of established researchers who do fieldwork in clinical and non-clinical settings, focusing on how people interact with healthcare technology, in the form of case studies. These case studies are all personal, reflective accounts of challenges faced and lessons learned, which future researchers might also learn from.

We open with an account of studies in the Operating Room, focusing on the role of the researcher, and how participants engage and resist engaging with the research process. Subsequent case studies address themes in a variety of hospital settings, which highlight the variability that is experienced across study settings and the importance of context in shaping what is possible when conducting research in hospitals. Recognising and dealing with emotions, strategies for gaining access, and data gathering are themes that pervade the studies.

Later case studies introduce research involving collaborative design and intervention studies, which seek to have an immediate impact on practice. Mental health is a theme of two intervention studies as we move out of the hospital to engage with vulnerable participants suffering from long-term conditions and people in the home. This volume closes with an intervention study in the developing world that ends with some tips for conducting studies in healthcare. Such tips are synthesised through the thematic chapters presented in the companion volume.

Table of Contents: Preface / Acknowlegements / Confessions from the Operating Suite: Negotiating Capture, Resistance, Errors, and Identity / Understanding Trauma Resuscitation: Experiences from the Field and Lessons Learned / HCI Observations on an Oncology Ward: A Fieldworker’s Experience / Observing Healthcare: An Exploration of Observer Experiences and Emotion / Finding Balance: Matters of Ethics, Consent, and Emotional Work When Studying Handover in Hospitals / Fieldwork and Challenges of Access / Building Relationships: HCI Researchers at a Gastro Surgical Department / Deploying Healthcare Technology “in the wild:” Experiences from Deploying a Mobile Health Technology for Bipolar Disorder Treatment / Designing Technology for Extremely Vulnerable Adults: The Important Role of Staff in Design and Ethics / The Challenges of Interviewing Older People in Their Own Homes: Reflections and Suggestions from the Field / Studying Patients’ Interactions with Home Haemodialysis Technology: The Ideal and The Practical / Experiences in HCI, Healthcare, and Development: Lessons from the PartoPen Project in Kenya / References / Biographies

About Co-Editor, Dr. Helena Mentiz…


I am an assistant professor in the Department of Information Systems.  My research interests span the areas of human-computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, and biomedical informatics.  I specifically focus on engaging in a translational research approach to align coordinated clinical practices with information technology such as gestural interaction in the OR, informal data sharing in the emergency room, and health information sharing between chronically ill patients and their caregivers.  My current work is on the design and coordinated use of interactive surgical systems, specifically in minimally invasive surgical practices.  I’ve held postdoctoral and research fellow positions at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance, at University of Cambridge and Microsoft Research Cambridge, and at the Swedish Institute of Computer Science.  I received a PhD in Information Sciences and Technology from The Pennsylvania State University, MS in Communication from Cornell, and BS in Psychology from Virginia Tech.