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Contextual Inquiry and Project Management

Posted in Research

  • Project Type: Group
  • Client: University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Deliverable: Analysis of Patient Encounter Documentation Process
  • Course: SI 501
  • Status: Completed

The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMCCC) is one of only 40 U.S. centers designated by the U.S. Cancer Institute as “comprehensive,” in recognition of its high standards for treatment, research, patient education, and community outreach. The team was charged with analyzing the process by which its nurse practitioners within the breast cancer team document their encounters with patients.



The team conducted 5 in-depth interviews where two of the team members were present to do a verbal interview followed by a silent observation of the documentation process in the interviewee’s typical work settings. Each interview was followed up by an interpretation session within 48 hours where the entire team was debriefed on the details and shared ideas. The collected data was then analyzed through work process analysis, affinity diagraming, and concept model creation.

We found there was strong working relationship between the nurse practitioners and physicians and this autonomy was crucial in keeping the process going despite the tight schedule and the amount of documentation required. Several points of redundancy and breakdowns were identified, on which our recommendations were based.

As the client contact, I was in charge of all client-facing communication, management of expectation, and handling of client needs. Due to the nature of the client’s business – i.e. healthcare – all members of the team had to sign the HIPAA agreement and any artifacts or documents had to be properly redacted.

I am unable to share the final report here without the client’s consent.