UXPA – World Usability Day – Healthcare

World-Usability-DayExcellent event, very nice location and surprisingly tasty food 😉   I must admit that conversations before the event were almost as insightful as the event itself.

I was talking with a person who worked in a usability group of a large organization.  The organization has an independent usability group over 25 people, which includes UX specialists, information architects, UX designers, and front-end developers.  I asked how this person manages designers not designing “the next step” of any process as understandable.  This is not a problem in the organization – designers understand UI design principles.  Oh…  I was so jealous 😉

The most insightful discovery from the conversations around the food table:

  • zipnosisUsability issues exposed and discovered are not usually “unique” – in many cases it is the same issues repeated many times in many projects
  • A company developed a methodology to insert news in any online location. As a result product managers repeatedly attempt to insert news into every product imaginable in a prominent position.  Repeatedly, the users of the products state that they do not want news – they are trying to do their job.
  • Developers often find usability studies “painful to watch” as they see how the interfaces they code confuse users
  • It is a challenge doe usability experts to dance around the issue that people who develop products and tools do not understand anything in the discipline even if they think they do 🙂
  • The issue of a grey button…  and lack of understanding that these buttons won’t be clicked as much  😉

Optum presentation also showed a nice investment into the team – 6 UI designers and 2 UI front end developers.  The understanding of the important of usability is growing  in the industry.

Optum UX team works very closely to the brand group to keep brand standards.

The approach to the UX is to have common UX standards, but also have flexibility to add unique approaches for unique products.


Remote health care (video visits) was started by NASA to monitor health of astronauts.  This type of a physician visit had poor ROI since 1960.  Currently there are many attempts to find how to make physician visits … not quite in-person.  https://zipnosis.com/ is one of these attempts.



Usability issues….  “It takes an engineer to program the thermostat because the engineer created the interface”  😉


Making pacemaker information available for physicians Geneva Healthcare

Pacemaker data presentation is difficult – there are 4 different companies that produce the device and over 80 different devices produced over the years.  All of the devices manage data differently and do not present it in an understandable form.

genevaThe opportunity: the data exists; the data describes health of the most expensive patients – cardiac patients; the data can be used to predict health events and manage them before emergencies.  However, the data needs to be presented in the understandable form.

Geneva worked with physicians to understand what they needed (as physicians known to be a difficult audience for information technology adoption and an audience that lacks time).  The interfaces used:

  • Aesthetic and minimalist design
  • Pre-attentive processing (unconscious accumulation of information from the environment)
  • Near-instant perception of information

The dashboard created presents information from any device in a uniform fashion, is easy to understand at a glance, and show the most important information (from the physician’s view).  Dashboard allows drilling into details of each piece of information as needed.


Universal Model of an interface (Bob Baxley 2003) – was used as a framework of the interface development – a great fundamental resource.