Development and usability testing of a parent decision support tool for the neonatal intensive care unit

    Abstract

    In this paper we present the development and evaluation of a parent decision support tool for a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), known as PPADS or Physician and Parent Decision Support. The NICU interprofessional (IP) team uses advanced technology to care for the sickest infants in the hospital, some at the edge of viability. Many difficult care decisions are made daily for this vulnerable population. The PPADS tool, a computerized decision support system, aims to augment current NICU decision-making by helping parents make more informed decisions, improving physician-parent communication, increasing parent decision-making satisfaction, decreasing conflict, and increasing decision efficiency when faced with ethically challenging situations. The development and evaluation of the PPADS tool followed a five step methodology: assessing the clinical environment, establishing the design criteria, developing the system design, implementing the system, and performing usability testing. Usability testing of the PPADS tool with parents of neonates who have graduated (survived) from a tertiary level NICU demonstrates the usefulness and ease of use of the tool.