Are ‘Human Factors’ Human Revisited

Comment from Ken Eason on the paper

‘This paper is a contribution to the 60th birthday celebrations for Niel’s Bjorn Andersen to recognise his many contributions to the development of information systems. In 1984 Niel’s wrote a paper called ‘Are ‘Human Factors’ Human?’ in which he challenged the human factors community, then helping to develop different forms of human-computer interaction, to be more humanistic in their approach and to take a more holistic view of people in systems. This paper reflects on developments in human factors since 1984 in the light of Niel’s challenges. It traces the history of research and design practice since 1984 and, although there are signs of a broader based approach to human beings in systems, it concludes that much of the work is still about specific issues, for example, the recognition of icons,. Major progress has been made in the way users participate in design work and on methodologies for usability and accessability evaluation. However, much less progress has been made in changing overall design processes from technical procedures where human and organisational issues are dealt with, if at all, at the implementation stage. The objective of sociotechnical sysems design. which takes a humanistic view of the people in the system, becoming mainstream practice is still a long way off.’


EASON K.D. Are ‘Human Factors’ Human Revisited In Andersen K.V. and Thanning Vendelo M. (eds) The Past and Future of Information Systems, Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann, pp123-136

Psychological Processes in the Use of Electronic Journals

Paper presented at the UKSG 23rd Annual Conference, Keele, April 2000

Evidence of user behaviour with electronic journals from the SuperJournal project is reviewed to identify the psychological processes being employed. The article reviews patterns of use, the dominance of browsing as the means of seeking information, the depth, breadth and range of use and the tendency to print. The article concludes that the dominant user approach is a coping strategy that maximises success for minimum psychological effort.

PDF Link to Paper

Eason K.D. and Harker S.D.P. Psychological processes in the use of electronic journals, Serials 13(2) 67-72

The Implications of e-health System Delivery Strategies for Integrated Healthcare: Lessons from the UK & Elsewhere


This paper explores the implications that different technical strategies for sharing patient information have for healthcare workers and, as a consequence, for the extent to which these systems provide support for integrated care.

Four technical strategies were identified and the forms of coupling they made with healthcare agencies were classified. A study was conducted in England to examine the human and organizational implications of systems implemented by these four strategies. Results were used from evaluation reports of two systems delivered as part of the NPfIT (National Programme for Information Technology) and from user responses to systems delivered in two local health communities in England. In the latter study 40 clinical respondents reported the use of systems to support integrated care in six healthcare pathways.

The implementation of a detailed care record system (DCRS) in the NPfIT was problematic because it could not meet the diverse needs of all healthcare agencies and it required considerable local customization. The programme evolved to allow different systems to be delivered for each local health community. A national Summary Care Record (SCR) was implemented but many concerns were raised about wide access to confidential patient information. The two technical strategies that required looser forms of coupling and were under local control led to wide user adoption. The systems that enabled data to be transferred between local systems were successfully used to support integrated care in specific healthcare pathways. The portal approach gave many users an opportunity to view patient data held on a number of databases and this system evolved over a number of years as a result of requests from the user community.

The UK national strategy to deliver single shared database systems requires tight coupling between many users and has led to poor adoption because of the diverse needs of healthcare agencies. Sharing patient information has been more successful when local systems have been developed to serve particular healthcare pathways or when separate databases are viewable through a portal. On the basis of this evidence technical strategies that permit the local design of tight coupling are necessary if information systems are to support integrated care in healthcare pathways.


  • Links between electronic patient databases and healthcare agencies are defined in terms of tightness of coupling, range and scale.
  • The English Detailed Care Record System was unable to serve the diverse needs of healthcare agencies and was not successfully deployed.
  • Tight coupling was successfully deployed at a local level between agencies engaged in integrated care in healthcare pathways.
  • Widespread uptake was also found when portal systems were deployed that permitted viewing of a range of patient databases.
  • Adoption of patient databases was greater when there was middle-out design and technical strategies delivered looser forms of coupling.

Link to PDF

Science Direct Link

Eason K.D. and Waterson P.E. (2013) The Implications of e-health system delivery strategies for integrated healthcare: lessons from the UK and elsewhere. International Journal of Medical Informatics. 85(5) 96-106 Doi:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2012.11.004

The Innovation of Multiview 3 for Development Professionals

The Multiview Methodology for Information Systems Development has never been a widely used or mass-market approach. It has always had a small user base, a localised approach to a global issue: coherent IS development. This paper concerns the underreported innovation of the Multiview3 methodology for Information systems analysis, design and development – specifically designed for non-specialists working in developing countries. The innovation emerged from the identification of a methodological ‘gap’ in support for non-specialists struggling with Information Systems problem structuring challenges. The Multiview3 story tells us how IS methodology can be innovated to address the needs of users. This version of Multiview is argued to be theoretically distinct from previous versions in terms of its focus (developing countries) and application (problem solving and co-learning in practice).

Innovation Multiview Methodology 3 for Development Professionals Simon Bell

PDF Link

Bell, S. and Wood-Harper, A. 2014. The Innovation of Multiview 3 for Development Professionals. Electronic Journal of Information Systems for Developing Countries. 63, 3, pp. 1 – 25.