Physician Innovator, Technology Enabled Care
said the sub-title.
I was visiting a gym the other day and saw this clock on a desk.
It was a digital clock, about 8 or 9 inches wide, and had a black background with white letters. It had day, date, year, AM/PM, temperature, alarm etc. - everything you needed to know in a clean, crisp design. It was a beauty!
I really liked it and wanted one for my desk. I took a picture of it and started looking up online. I eventually found it. To my surprise, it was called a “Dementia Clock”!
To be really honest, I do sometimes forget where I parked my car, but I digress.
I started thinking, what made this clock attractive to me? The larger than usual size? The sharp white letters on a black background? The way the information was formatted? The simplicity? Actually, it was all of the above. And why should this be for people with dementia or vision problems only? Don’t we all enjoy and want these features?
Let’s take Electronic Health Records for example. It seems like the designers were thinking, “Let’s make this really complicated. They are doctors. They should be able to figure this out”!
One time, I counted 32 lines of text, in small font, on one screen of a popular EHR. Imagine looking at these screens hundreds of times a day while doing intense thinking. I can’t think of a better way to torture people. Too much information on a computer screen drains people’s mental energy. It increases their cognitive burden. Now you know why physicians hate EHRs!
When I design software applications for physicians, I have a few rules for the developers. I spoke about these 6 rules in my last post - The Chettipally Rules:
When you make things intelligent, simpler, and easier to use, it will decrease the cognitive burden. Physicians will actually use the application and will be happy to do so. Of course, you have to take care of the other big issue first - value for the time and effort. I will talk about this later.
So, next time you are planning to build an app for physicians or anyone for that matter, keep this in mind: Make it simple, smart, and swift.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to User Experience in healthcare?