Patient-Environment Interaction at Core of Researcher’s New “vizHome” Project

Overview: This research studies the factors that influence a person’s ability to manage a health condition at home. The ‘vizHome’ Project will support the group’s data collection efforts resulting in 360-degree, detailed images of homes of people living with diabetes. The images will be translated into 3-D displays within the immersive, virtual reality CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment). After recreating images in virtual reality, the team will look for patient trends at home that may enhance or inhibit a person’s ability to remember to do specific health treatment tasks, such as taking medications, checking blood sugar levels, or other monitoring practices.

Methods: The researchers intend to study as many homes as possible in partnership with the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), a public health research study monitoring the health of Wisconsinites. After the researchers look at similarities and differences among home living environments, studying three to five rooms in each house, they plan to digitize objects and furniture into 3-D representations that can be moved and rearranged to create variations of the same room. Then they will conduct studies with a new group of participants unfamiliar with the particular home who are either diagnosed with diabetes or are involved with diabetes care of another, to measure which features may affect their ability to manage their home care. The focus is on task accomplishment rather than architectural redesign.

Funding: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

Gail Casper, RN, PhD
Associate Scientist
vizHOME Project Director
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Kevin Ponto, PhD
Assistant Professor
Design Studies Department
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Pascale Carayon, PhD
Procter & Gamble Bascom Professor in Total Quality
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Director, Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Peter Hoonakker, PhD
Research Scientist, Associate Director of Research
Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Catherine Arnott-Smith, PhD
Discovery Fellow, Associate Professor, Library and Information Studies
Wisconsin Institute for Discovery
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nicole Werner, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Werner, N., Tong, M., Nathan-Roberts, D., Smith, C., Tredinnick, R., Ponto, K., Melles, M, Hoonakker, P.L.T. (2020). A sociotechnical systems approach toward tailored design for personal health information management. Patient Experience Journal 7(1), pp.75-83.


Jolliff, A., Hoonakker, P.L.T., Ponto, K., Tredinnick, R., Casper, G., Martell, T., Werner, N.E. (2019). The Desktop or the Top of the Desk? The relative usefulness of household features for personal health information management. Applied Ergonomics 82, 102912.


Hoonakker, P.L.T., Casper, G., Peer, A., Arnott Smith, C., Tredinnick, R., Werner, N., Ponto, K., (2018) Healthcare in a Virtual Environment: Workload and Simulation Sickness in a 3D CAVE. In: Bagnara S., Tartaglia R., Albolino S., Alexander T., Fujita Y. (eds) Proceedings of the 20th Congress of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA 2018), pp. 281-289. IEA 2018, Florence, Italy, August 26-30, 2018. Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, vol 822. Springer, Cham.


Werner, N.E., Carayon, P., Casper, G.R., Hoonakker, P.L.T., Arnott Smith, C., Brennan, P.F. (2016). Affordances of household features important for personal health information management: Designing consumer health information technology for the home. In Mollo, V. and Falzon, P. (Ed), Proceedings of the Healthcare Systems Ergonomics and Patient Safety Conference. Toulouse, France, October 5-7, 2016, pp. 390-394.