This dissertation describes a mixed-methods study that examines the usability of telemedicine provider interfaces. This study consisted of content analysis, survey, and think aloud methodologies, which afford a multifaceted corpus of data for which to draw inferences and identify design features and functions that negatively impact usability. Usability is a critical component of the user experience with a telemedicine provider interface and can suede or impede the acceptance and adoption of telemedicine. Telemedicine has the potential to increase quality healthcare access and positive health outcomes for individuals who use it, and usability is a key component of technology acceptance and effective use. Empirical testing of health information technology (HIT) and telemedicine is advocated for as it is the most valuable method of research to understand humans' cognitive processing of information as they interact with technology. In addition, using activity theory and mobile interface theory as a lens in which to understand human activities and interaction with telemedicine provider interfaces, including the telemedicine provider websites and their mobile-responsive websites in this study, is an effective tool for drawing reasonable inferences regarding the usability of telemedicine communications. Considering the rate at which an unprecedented amount of health information becomes available online and HIT facilitates the delivery of healthcare, usability testing and user-centered, iterative design practices become increasingly essential in order to design effective—and safe—health information and technology that enhance the patient-experience, the affordability and accessibility of healthcare, health literacy and patient empowerment, and positive health outcomes. Usability testing plays an increasingly important role in characterizing obstacles to achieving these initiatives of the modern patient-centered health paradigm and telemedicine. The mixed-methods usability testing performed in this study offers a principled approach to usability testing and is ecologically valid because it involves real human subjects. This study fulfills a void in research on the usability of telemedicine communications and reveals usability problems that may not be anticipated by designers of HIT and health information providers. Drawing from the insight gained from this mixed-method study, design features and functions that enhance the usability of health communications are offered. This study draws insight from the human factors, technical communication, and health and medical fields to develop systematic, practical usability testing methods that can be replicated and applied in many fields. The design recommendations resulting from this study will be valuable to programmers; systems analysts; clinicians and nurses; technical communicators; information architects; visual designers; and others in similar roles.


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Graduation Date





Stephens, Sonia


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Arts and Humanities

Degree Program

Texts and Technology




CFE0008138; DP0023475





Release Date

August 2021

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Included in

Telemedicine Commons