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Can anyone point me to a study/paper that proves that having a common interface improves physicians’ decisions or improve health care safety?

Oct 11, 2008 at 6:05 PM

I am looking for help.

I am studying Health Informatics. For my graduation research I am looking into ways to improve computer interface for primary care physicians. Having a common interface just makes sense. But, you know academics need a “study” that proves it.

Oct 13, 2008 at 9:32 AM
Thanks for your interest in MSCUI.  I have asked our user experience team to look into your question
Dec 15, 2008 at 8:58 AM

Many thanks for your interest, and your patience. I don’t know of any specific studies (if someone does then also very eager to look at them), which speak directly to your query. I would not be surprised though if there were longitudinal studies currently underway which might look at this.

However, if I were looking for evidence to back up how common UI elements might benefit better decision-making, I would consider more basic studies which compared ranges of computer user interfaces which had disparate, versus common elements, looking for any differences in regard to learning and relearning, accuracy of understanding, and task performance times. (And I have to point out here, that patient safety is not always about task performance times).

And at risk of offering thoughts which you already have covered, I’d look to conducting primary research with your end-users (primary care physicians) if you are looking for specific ways to improve UI that they use (the usual user-centred design approach). Observing and interviewing them whilst they used their systems would yield insights as to how their systems could be improved. Hope this helps.

Dec 15, 2008 at 8:13 PM
Thank you for your response.

I have been trying to answer this question. I think I reached a convincing answer. One of my main mistakes is that I was not making the distinction between and interface that is developed for casual users as websites users and professional users as clinicians using the same interface day in and day out.
Well designed pattern rich consistent designs allow us to find needed information faster, interpret information correctly and reduce our cognitive load leaving more capacity for the task at hand as making decisions. MSCUI patient banner control is pattern rich. Different font styles (font size, italic and bold) are used. Another example of this control rich pattern is always having patients’ name in the right upper corner and allergies in the left lower corner.

The evidence for consistency is drawn from the dual processing theory. (Work of Richard M. Shiffrin and Walter Schneider)
The evidence for the need for pattern can be drawn from the work of Else Nygren .
The Lancet ‘Medical records’ 1998 four article series was what pointed me to the above evidence.

I am trying to finish 2-3 blog posts that summarise this evidence. I should be done in two days.

Shiffrin, R. M. & Schneider, W. (1977). Controlled and automatic human information processing: II. Perceptual learning, automatic attending, and a general theory.
Psychological Review, 84, 127-190.
Schneider, W. & Shiffrin, R. M. (1977). Controlled and automatic human information processing: I. Detection, search, and attention.
Psychological Review, 84, 1-66.
Nygren, Else et al. , The art of the obvious : Automatically processed components of the task of reading frequently used documents. Implications for task analysis and interface design. // Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems : Striking a Balance: Human Factors in Computing Systems: CHI 92 Proceedings, Baursefeld, J. P. (ed.). - 1992. - S. 235 - 239