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CHI 2022 Workshop

Challenges, Tensions, and Opportunities in Designing Ecosystems to Support the Management of Complex Health Needs

The work of managing complex health needs creates many challenges for patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers. While researchers have created interventions such as technologies and services to address particular health needs, interventions must be designed to better account for gaps in technologies and interdependencies across health needs. In this workshop we will adopt an ecosystems perspective to better understand the nature of complex needs and how to support the management of those needs through holistic and multi-faceted support.

Complex health needs include multimorbidity, vulnerability, and frequent use of health services. Complexity might be caused by health-related factors (e.g., discordant, enigmatic, and/or rare conditions) and by personal and psychosocial factors (e.g., disenfranchisement, stigma, culture, life transitions).


• Submission deadline: March 3rd, 2022 (Call for papers)
• Notification of acceptance: Mid-March, 2022
• Workshop: Saturday April 30, 2022, hybrid


There remain many unanswered questions about how to design technologies and services for people with complex needs. Our goal in this workshop is to explore questions such as the ones listed below.

Definitions: How are complex health needs defined, and under what circumstances does the definition shift? How do different cultures, value systems, and social conditions influence the definition? What is the role of health care provider organizations in defining complex health care needs? How do different approaches to financing health care influence the nature of complex care ecosystems (e.g., nationalized health care, value-based care, not-for-profit care)? How do these definitions change across different health conditions, such as conditions understood through biological markers, conditions understood through patient-reported symptoms and outcomes, and conditions that are enigmatic, rare, or poorly understood?

Data: What is the role of data in complex care ecosystems? How can we build technologies that leverage data across levels of an ecosystem (e.g., individual, family, community, society)? What becomes possible if data practices within complex care ecosystems are better connected, integrated, and coordinated?
Data management systems such as electronic health records are often owned and operated by health care systems. Who should own and/or finance data management systems for complex care? What ethical risks around data collection, privacy, security, and autonomy might arise in complex care ecosystems that are more tightly integrated?

Theory: What theories, models, approaches, and perspectives help researchers and designers grapple with complex care ecosystems? For example, HCI scholars have used Bronfenbrenner’s ecology of human development, Ungar’s social ecology of resilience, a care infrastructures perspective, and assets-based and strengths-based perspectives. What aspects of these ecosystems can or should researchers and designers consider (e.g., stakeholders, layers, technologies, data)? How can we surface and account for tensions and alignment across these different aspects?

Design: How can we identify and engage relevant stakeholders in complex care, including roles with emerging significance (e.g., community health workers or healthcare policymakers)? How to design an ecosystem with multiple new or existing technologies in mind? How to account for dependencies and overlaps across different health needs and technologies? How to support people in navigating different technology options to meet their personalized needs? What aspects of complex care ecosystems can most benefit from contributions from HCI scholars?

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