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A Method for Representing Contextualized Information (MeRCI) to Improve Situational Awareness Among Electronic Message Brokering System Dashboard Users

Author: Arunkumar Srinivasan, MS (2012)

Primary Advisor: Jiajie Zhang, PhD

Committee Members: M. Sriram Iyengar, PhD; Kim Dunn, MD, PhD; Jack W. Smith, MD, PhD; John P. Abellera, MPH

PhD Thesis, The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston.


Chapter 1 overviews the background, and outlines the domain problems, the environment, and the context of this dissertation. In this section basic principles of dashboard design and its significance are discussed in the light of current problems in the public health domain. Existing frameworks for dashboard design are introduced and major challenges of design, conceptualization, and implementation of robust human-centered dashboards are discussed. I highlight some of the core criteria that are required for measuring the impact of the system interface.

Chapter 2 reviews the prior art and describes the design and conceptualization of information dashboards. A comparative discussion of the pros and cons and design implications of each system is provided. This chapter concludes with a gap analysis that set the stage for further research and development in this area and rationalizes and motivates this work.

Chapter 3 formulates the problem from the author’s perspective, provides the motivation, rationale and criteria that informed the conceptualization of the MeRCI system and the methods used to implement it. This chapter continues with an in-depth discussion of the system design, and its components. At the end, there is a brief review of the challenges facing the evaluation of the health information system, followed by a detailed explanation of the evaluation methods used to assess its validity and reliability.

Chapter 4 presents the results of a comprehensive and methodological evaluation described in Chapter 3. 

Chapter 5 is devoted to the in-depth analysis of the MeRCI design and its conceptualization. The discussions are focused on the design rationale and outcomes of the evaluation in light of the desiderata put forward in Chapter 1 for the next generation information representation, the gap analysis provided in Chapter 2, and the motivations introduced in Chapter 3. I have also documented the key design principles that were identified during the research study.

Chapter 6 concludes the dissertation, recapitulates its main points, and highlights the contributions and the significance of the MeRCI design to the field of health information sciences. Plans for the improvement of the system to address its known shortcomings are discussed, and future directions for research and development in the field are highlighted.