Needs Assessment for the Development of an Electronic Cross-Facility Health Record (ECHR) for Pediatric Palliative Care: A Design Thinking Approach


Background: Pediatric palliative care (PPC) is characterized by years of multisectoral and multi-professional care. Sharing information between PPC professionals is, therefore, essential for quality care. The evidence shows that electronic cross-facility health records (ECHRs) provide useful support in this context. To our knowledge, no ECHRs have been developed through a user-centered approach for this specific setting in Germany.

Methods: Guided by design thinking, first, qualitative interviews were conducted to assess the needs of PPC professionals. Second, the elicited needs were specified in focus groups (FGs). Based on the needs stated in the interviews, prototypes of the ECHR were developed and discussed in the FGs. The indicated needs were supplemented and specified in an iterative process. The prototypes were further adapted according to these results. The unified theory of acceptance and use of technology was the basic model in the evaluation of needs.

Results: Across seven main categories, past and current medication, emergency view, and messaging functions were identified as the participants’ desired core components of an ECHR. Utilizing design thinking facilitated the explicit articulation of user needs.

Conclusions: Developing an ECHR with the content identified would allow for real-time data during emergencies, tracking what other PPC professionals have done, and making the applied treatments visible to others. This would offer a broader picture of the complex conditions common to PPC.

Theresa Sophie Busse
Health Scientist

Theresa is particularly interested in the development and use of digital applications in palliative care and related ethical issues.

Larissa Dreier
Larissa Dreier
Dorothee Meyer
Dorothee Meyer
Educational Scientist
Prof. Dr. Boris Zernikow
Prof. Dr. Boris Zernikow
Medical Director