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UX Design in Health Care: Where it Intersects and the Future

Published on 2/10/2017

User experience (UX) is an emerging trend in health care IT. As health care shifts to a patient-centered service model, there is growing demand to integrate user-centered design into health care products and solutions.

To optimize any solution, UX must be engineered in at every step of the process, and the experience for the HIT user should meet or exceed expectations for any software application they use.

My responsibility, working across all Cerner solutions, is to improve not only the design, but also the process, as well as to collaborate with clients to ensure Cerner is providing the best possible user experience.

Cerner and the path to UX

As technology has progressed, so has the design process. Things that started on pencil and paper are now conceptualized using innovative software tools. While there are exciting 'middleware' solutions available for designers, some of the newest and most innovative tools are actually developed in-house by Cerner. This opens up even more possibilities and opportunities for innovation around user experience as the UX team works to design the best solutions as quickly as possible — ideally, before a single line of code is written.

One of Cerner's goals for comprehensive UX strategy is to establish a process and rules set for the user experience, which will ensure consistency across our entire solution offering. From usability and regulatory requirements to accessibility, it's this framework that will keep Cerner on the cutting edge of our clients' needs.

And while consistency is central to our approach, we'll also apply user research, internal analytics and data from our model experience to make the Cerner UX as interactive as possible. Once we've thoroughly tested and validated our work, we can be assured that what we've designed is a great experience; from there, we can implement that design across the board.

That's why we're moving to a more user-centered approach — we want to involve our end users in the design and testing process up front, not at the end. The ultimate goal is to catch usability issues before they are coded and released.

How UX can benefit health care and delight clients

We're going to focus on customer delight in HIT. Customers — including the clinical side — should be delighted by the aesthetics of Cerner's solutions. I don't mean just the look of the design; the most important piece is how you feel when using the software. Our long-term goal is to challenge the current perception of productivity software and to see how elegant — and even how beautiful — we can make our solutions in the future.

But delightful aesthetics cannot sacrifice the consistency and safety of our designs. Patient safety and data security are paramount in health care, so it's crucial for any health care-related UX designs to consider those elements as well. At Cerner, that means we're looking at everything you interact with on the screen — colors, buttons, icons, you name it. We're doing a sweep of everything, and over time, our end mission is to propagate our choices through as many solutions as we can, current and future state.

We can't forget accessibility, compliance and regulation. Everything we create will go through that filter, and our UX design will be ubiquitous — whether you're designing for desktop, laptop, PC, Mac, tablet or phone, it's going to be a great experience for all of those platforms.

The insights reviewed in this blog post came out of our Cerner Physician Community Call Connection Series hosted by Dr. Jigar Patel. To watch the full presentation, follow this link. This call is bi-monthly and features prominent industry topics and speakers, messaging from Cerner leadership, solution updates and developments, and offers open forum time where participants can ask questions.

If you are a physician client or know of a physician interested in joining our next Cerner Physician Community (CPC) Call Connection Series, please reach out to your Cerner resource or email to enroll.