Software Maintenance: Creation of a Dashboard for Reporting the Status of Internet Interventions; An Actor-Network Theory Analysis of’s Unsuccessful Launch

Butler, Keith, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Laugelli, Benjamin, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

My technical and STS research projects are connected by the topic of digital health, which refers to the application of information technology to healthcare. My projects explore the impact of digital health within different domains of healthcare. While my technical project focuses on a web application for streamlining the development of behavioral health interventions, my STS research analyzes the development of a web application for purchasing affordable health insurance plans. Therefore, while my projects differ in their specific domain of healthcare, they are consistent in their use of digital technologies, particularly web applications, to improve the quality and availability of healthcare services.

My technical project seeks to improve the development and maintenance of internet interventions at the Center for Behavioral Health and Technology (CBHT), a research laboratory at the University of Virginia’s School of Medicine. An internet intervention is a behavioral health therapy hosted on the internet, typically through a website. To achieve this goal, I created a dashboard that aggregates software-related security alerts, build test results, and version information across all of CBHT’s internet interventions. The benefit to this dashboard is that it provides CBHT’s software engineers a single location to identify internet interventions in need of updating, and it serves as an index of important software development resources. The dashboard will accelerate the development of internet interventions at CBHT that can help patients with challenging psychological conditions, and it will also ensure the ongoing quality of internet interventions years after their initial release.

My STS research project also focuses on the development of a web application, but within the domain of health insurance. In my STS research, I use actor-network theory and Michel Callon’s concept of translation to analyze the unsuccessful launch of, an online health insurance marketplace designed to provide affordable health insurance plans to millions of Americans. In my paper, I argue that’s unsuccessful launch was the result of a series of failures in specifying project needs, recruiting stakeholders, and communicating with stakeholders. By analyzing the process that enabled these failures, my paper draws attention to the importance of attending to sociotechnical factors and adhering to rigorous standards throughout the development of large-scale web applications for health insurance.

My technical and STS research projects complemented each other well; by working on both projects simultaneously, I gained a better understanding of the sociotechnical challenges involved in developing scalable web applications for healthcare services. My technical project provided me hands-on experience developing a web application that manages large amounts of data, which helped me understand the technical constraints and issues at play in the case study. My STS research, in turn, informed me of the importance of software testing and communication with end users, which I applied while developing the dashboard for CBHT. Together, these two projects improved my understanding of the challenges and impact of digital health technologies within various domains of healthcare.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
software maintenance,, actor-network theory

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Technical Advisor: Rosanne Vrugtman

STS Advisor: Benjamin Laugelli

Issued Date: