What happened to the user interface?

7 May
2007

Time and time again I see vendors with products that claim to help help clinicians practice healthcare yet are flawed in the way they execute the user interface. About five years ago I was part of a development team creating a new ambulatory EMR product and one of the things we learned in working with our development partners in building the user interface is that it is easy to become overwhelmed with various notifications and alerts prompting users to eventually ignore dialog boxes and alerts when they are displayed to frequently not to mention the extra steps. It almost becomes second nature to just click through some alerts regardless of their importance. I mention this because despite having the same ultimate outcomes the approach by various vendors in the way they display information and interface with the end-users is almost always different prompting the need for end-user input during integration. Of even more importance are the extra steps most systems require on the back-end in order to interface with each other due to the lack of standardization in clinical systems. There does exists some standards such as HL7 for communicating information however certain aspects of this protocol are open for interpretation by each institution and data schemas may differ.

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