This thesis explores the use of video conferencing for doctor appointments in home settings. We are now seeing a shift with the proliferation of commercial technologies, such as smartphone apps that allow people to have appointments with family doctors from nearly any location for various reasons. However, little is known about how doctors and patients perceive smartphone-based video appointment systems, what types of medical ailments are best suited for these systems, what socio-technical challenges might emerge through their usage, and how systems should be designed to support the virtual appointment context. This work aims to understand patients' and doctors' needs and investigate what design factors are important in designing video conferencing systems to support patients seeing the doctor from their homes. This thesis consists of three studies and the design of a prototype system. I first conducted an exploratory study that investigated the needs of doctors and patients for video conferencing to support doctor appointments with a range of medical situations. Then, I conducted a participatory design study that included patients as partners participating in the system design process and created the prototype Dr.'s Eye with an iterative design process. Third, I evaluated how patients used the video conferencing prototype in various medical situations utilizing scenario-based interviews where patient participants attended mock video doctor appointments. The study was to understand the benefits and challenges of using specially designed features to support these varying scenarios. Overall, my work contributes an empirical understanding of conducting varying types of doctor appointments over video in home settings and an understanding of design factors that should be valued in future system design to overcome interaction issues for both technical and socio-technical aspects during video doctor appointments, including camera work to support patients capturing body areas and actions, coordination work allowing the doctor to examine patients with authorized camera control, privacy protection to comfort patients' experience in exposing private body regions, as well as doctor-patient trust relationship creation and maintenance.
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Thesis advisor: Neustaedter, Carman
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