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  • Writer's pictureAmir Gilboa

User experience in medical systems - does that even exist?

When speaking about User Experience, medical systems are not necessarily the first things that come to mind. For those less familiar with the term ‘User Experience' (UX) I’ll shortly explain that it refers to the experience the user has when using the information systems (website, application, etc.) and it is influenced by the User Interface.

Following the previous post where we focused on the doctor’s screen time, we mentioned that one of the factors causing prolonged screen time of doctors is the way of working with the medical information systems and particularly the EMR system.

Many of the currently existing EMR systems are complex, complicated, and mainly uncomfortable for the work of the end-users - the medical staff professionals. The main reason is that when EMR systems were first developed, the main clients were not the general medical staff professionals. The main clients of the system were the insurance companies and the management of health organizations.

Naturally, the emphasis and topics that were important for the insurance companies differ from those important for the medical staff professionals. For example, the importance of precise and detailed documentation according to predefined codes that will later allow billing the patient correctly is very highly rated for the insurance companies and management, however much less interesting to medical staff professionals. In addition, many EMR systems contain many details and possibilities that do not always correspond to the work procedure of the medical staff who do not always need all that information, or that only need it for certain patients.

There are many studies that deal with the challenges of the medical staff when using EMR systems. One of the most interesting findings is that though there are systems in which a lot of time and money was invested and have been in use by medical staff for a long period of time, there are still staff that uses paper notes to better arrange their assignments and information about the patients.

In my opinion, these findings force us to rethink the way we should characterize the new medical systems in order to not repeat the same mistakes made in the characterization and development of those systems in the past.

The most important emphasis is to remain connected to the processes that are happening in the field. We must not think we know what is best for our users just because we understand information systems and characterize User Experience better than them. The medical staff in the field care less about the newest design trends in the market and if the color palette our designer chose is the hippest at the moment.

They do care about having a system that will support their work process, make it as easy, simple, and intuitive as possible to activate the system, and start using it as fast as possible without unnecessarily wasting time on long tutorials and reading exhausting instruction books.

Once we profoundly understand the processes the medical staff professionals undergo and provide them with a solution that will support their work (rather than one they have to work for…) they will be grateful and adapt the system faster and better.

In order to create an extraordinary UX, beyond correctly building the process and a simple and comfortable user interface, we would want to add abilities that will make the work of the medical staff professionals easier. For example, pop up the relevant information to them in certain cases that could help them in the decision-making process. At a higher level, we can provide them with advanced tools that would give them recommendations based on studies, algorithms, and artificial intelligence.

Attached are links for two articles with more details on some relevant researches:



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