Tuesday, September 25, 2007

World Usability Day's Healthcare Focus: Thoughts about health care user-experience design...

The theme of the 2007 World Usability Day is healthcare. This event aims to create awareness about the need for user-centered design within the health care system. Here is some information posted on UPA's World Usability Community blog:

"..."The importance of user-centered design in healthcare is truly about life and death” noted Elizabeth Rosenzweig, Founder and Director of World Usability Day. “Whether it’s new medical devices or technologies; drug research, approval or delivery; patient forms or medical record sharing; emergency disaster planning or increasing the functionality of hospitals and everyday healthcare delivery, everyone is effected in some way by the intersection of usability and healthcare. There are many commonalities, yet each region of the world faces its own set of unique challenges. We believe that focusing World Usability Day 2007 on healthcare will create a stronger awareness of these issues and lead to initiatives that have long term impact on the quality of everyone’s life".

Information about World Usability Day:

Usability and interaction with the health care system has become a personal interest of mine, as I've spent the better part of the past month assisting a close relative negotiate three hospital stays, a couple of surgeries, numerous medical tests, and visits to various medical professionals. This has been an eye-opening experience, as anyone who has followed a similar path would agree.

I propose that efforts to improve usability should consider using some of the strategies employed by user-experience designers, taking into consideration that the definition of "user" includes the patient/consumer, the patient's family and social support network, health care professionals, hospital and medical staff, health educators, researchers, and so forth.

When I have the chance, I'll post some of my observations and thoughts related to this topic.

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