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The users are the co-designers

Last updated on 28 Jul 2022

Finding yourself using software that make no sense? Do you use software and ask yourself ‘Who designed this and what were they thinking?’

We have all experienced this frustration, that feeling of illogicality that so often comes with new software tools. So, through our Streamlining Data Driven Research work at the HRA we are trying to break that mould and put our users at the heart of the development process using an approach we like to call…

‘The users are the co-designers’

We’re taking the best ideas from Agile (collaborative design) out of the exclusive domain of developers and internal stakeholders and putting you the user at the centre of our work.

To do this we are running consultation workshops and design review meetings with potential user groups to create prototype tools and resources that will guide people who develop AI or data driven technologies for health and social care through some of the regulatory frameworks. We need to know what supports and what creates barriers for people developing cutting-edge technologies and AI for health and social care. Then we need to be sure that what we develop will work for our users to remove unnecessary bureaucracy and give the right support. The products we have in development so far are receiving a most enthusiastic reception because those participating are influencing and directing the product. Those users are helping to ensure the products we develop are truly compatible with their needs and are adding many features that otherwise may have been omitted. They feel ownership in these products, because they can see their input reflected back to them through the prototypes that they have contributed to.

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What are we doing?

  • We have created a prototype data decision tool to help people who develop AI and data driven technologies for health and social care to decide what data and approvals they might need as part of their study. This tool will play a crucial role in mapping out and testing different data requirements for research and shine a light on the reasons why different considerations are relevant at different stages.
  • We are also working on guidance that will provide a step-by-step overview of considerations for people who develop AI or data driven technologies for health and social care and need to access data for this. This resource will help them to plan ahead by giving an understanding of the different processes and stakeholders that may be involved.
  • We are trialling new ways to streamline our processes when more than one type of approval are needed, such as those who need both HRA and MHRA reviews for clinical investigations of medical devices or those who need advice from the Confidentiality Advisory Group (CAG), and also need a Research Ethics Committee (REC) opinion.

We need more feedback

We need more feedback, more designers from all sides of the medical data research fields to review these prototypes and resources and help us in the next phase of development. If you would be interested in participating in this exciting new approach, please contact me.

Many thanks and I look forward to improving the tools we provide to assist AI and data research, with you as our valued and trusted partners.

Alan Smith, Engagement Manager Data and AI

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