Healthcare information systems are assuming an increasingly critical role in providing quality patient care in an effective and efficient manner. However, the success of these systems in achieving these goals remains a lingering concern. Consequently, investigating and devising strategies to enhance the likelihood of success of a healthcare information system continues to draw research interest. One strategy recommended by both researchers and practitioners alike is the participation of the target users in the design and development of the information system. However, practical considerations mandate representative, rather than universal, participation of users. Unfortunately, the information systems literature offers few guidelines for selecting user representatives to serve on a design team. This lack of guidelines easily results in system designers talking with the wrong users or managers assigning the wrong users to the design team. On the basis of the theoretical paradigms underlying the user participation and design team concepts, the authors examined and derived user characteristics that are considered the most critical criteria for selecting user members of a design team. They then report on a field survey they conducted to validate the derived criteria in healthcare information systems context. The authors conclude that the system-related functional expertise should be the primary criterion employed to select healthcare personnel to participate in system design and development. Other criteria, such as users' communication skills, computing backgrounds, and personality traits, should be given secondary considerations. Ignoring these guidelines can render user participation superfluous, resulting in system failures.