An established and well-known method for usability assessment of various human-computer interaction technologies is called heuristic evaluation (HE). HE has been adopted for evaluations in a wide variety of specialized contexts and with objectives that go beyond usability. A set of heuristics to evaluate how health information technologies (HITs) incorporate features that enable effective patient use of person-generated health data (PGHD) is needed in an era where there is a growing demand and variety of PGHD-enabled technologies in health care and where a number of remote patient-monitoring technologies do not yet enable patient use of PGHD. Such a set of heuristics would improve the likelihood of positive effects from patients’ use of PGHD and lower the risk of negative effects.
This study aims to describe the development of a set of heuristics for the design and evaluation of how well remote patient therapeutic technologies enable patients to use PGHD (PGHD enablement). We used the case of Kinect-based stroke rehabilitation systems (K-SRS) in this study.
The development of a set of heuristics to enable better use of PGHD was primarily guided by the R3C methodology. Closer inspection of the methodology reveals that neither its development nor its application to a case study were described in detail. Thus, where relevant, each step was grounded through best practice activities in the literature and by using Nielsen’s heuristics as a basis for determining the new set of heuristics. As such, this study builds on the R3C methodology, and the implementation of a mixed process is intended to result in a robust and credible set of heuristics.
A total of 8 new heuristics for PGHD enablement in K-SRS were created. A systematic and detailed process was applied in each step of heuristic development, which bridged the gaps described earlier. It is hoped that this would aid future developers of specialized heuristics, who could apply the detailed process of heuristic development for other domains of technology, and additionally for the case of PGHD enablement for other health conditions. The R3C methodology was also augmented through the use of qualitative studies with target users and domain experts, and it is intended to result in a robust and credible set of heuristics, before validation and refinement.
This study is the first to develop a new set of specialized heuristics to evaluate how HITs incorporate features that enable effective patient use of PGHD, with K-SRS as a key case study. In addition, it is the first to describe how the identification of initial HIT features and concepts to enable PGHD could lead to the development of a specialized set of heuristics.

©Gerardo Luis Dimaguila, Kathleen Gray, Mark Merolli. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (, 28.07.2020.