Using Phenomenological Hermeneutics to Gain Understanding of Stakeholders in Healthcare Contexts
Marikken Høiseth, Martina Maria Keitsch


The use of medical products differs from so-called everyday products in that people need them, rather than have a special desire to use them, and also because the use contexts often relate to care. For human-centered designers, it is essential to understand stakeholders as well as use contexts, and more research is needed about how products and services can facilitate improved healthcare experiences. In this article, an understanding of stakeholders and use contexts in the case of children’s medical treatment is attempted through a phenomenological hermeneutics approach inspired by the views of Heidegger, Gadamer, and van Manen. We chose this approach because it encourages gaining an understanding of care as a phenomenon through an interpretative dialogue. Based on an analysis of interviews conducted with nurses and parents who have experienced medical treatment of children aged 0 to 3 years, we present five themes capturing the perspectives of the phenomenon of care in the case of children’s medical treatment. Another outcome of this analysis is an appraisal of phenomenological hermeneutics as a human-centered design approach and its utilization for the design of medical products. We argue that its strength lies in the dedication toward lived experience, responding to a human-centered view that acknowledges human agency, competence, and participation.

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