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Technical Basis for User Interface Design of Health IT



Michael E. Wiklund, Jonathan Kendler, Limor Hochberg, Matthew B. Weinger


This document is intended to help EHR developers plan and implement a user-centered design for their EHR systems. It includes user interface design principles that are customized for EHR environment. Specifically, it provides: (1) Descriptions of the research and evaluation activities that led to the development of this document, (2) Methods describing analysis, design, and evaluation practices intended to optimize EHR user interface effectiveness, efficiency and user satisfaction, (3) User interface design principles that are likely to prevent common EHR design flaws and establish a basic level of interaction design quality in an EHR, (4) Summaries of EHR development best practices as described by EHR developers, and (5) EHR user profile descriptions. Research activities focused on determining user interface design features that contributed to or detracted from an EHRs use-safety and effectiveness. It involved web-based survey of 559 individuals and 86 observations and interviews of clinical, non-clinical and administrative staff that routinely used EHRs, formative usability tests of five EHRs with 63 representative users, expert reviews with 6 human factors engineering experts to review the 5 EHRs, supporting analyses with analysis of EHR tasks, examination of existing best practices, and review of user interface design principles, and over 300 user interface design principles customized for the EHR environment. The ultimate goal of the activities and principles described in this document is to provide EHR stakeholders with better knowledge and tools for ensuring an EHR's use-safety and effectiveness. These tools include user profile descriptions, vendor best practices, an example of a usability scoring system, user interface principles, and best practices in user interface design process. **This research was funded under NIST Contract # SB1341-11-CN-0011 titled “Developing a Usability Framework for Healthcare Information Technology.”**
Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR) - 15-996
Report Number


Wiklund, M. , Kendler, J. , Hochberg, L. and Weinger, M. (2015), Technical Basis for User Interface Design of Health IT, Grant/Contract Reports (NISTGCR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created August 17, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018