REDMOND, Wash. — Sept. 10, 2007 — Healthcare developers will be able to increase patient safety and clinician effectiveness with the new Microsoft® Health Common User Interface (CUI), available today from Microsoft Corp. The guidance and software code are available to download at no cost, and are designed to support the delivery of safe patient care across a healthcare system.
Targeted at healthcare application providers and institutions, the CUI is the result of more than two years’ collaboration between Microsoft and the National Health Service (NHS) in England. The initial release of the CUI has created guidance and tools for a common look and feel for patient-critical functions, intended to increase patient safety and clinician effectiveness and reduce training and support costs, among other benefits. In use today at NHS in England, the CUI is now available to all healthcare developers around the world at no cost at http://www.mscui.net.
“For every healthcare institution around the world, patient safety is of paramount importance,” said Tim Smokoff, general manager, worldwide health for the Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. “The Microsoft Health Common User Interface will help developers building healthcare applications ensure a higher level of quality control through a common look and feel to reduce the margin for error and save lives in the process.”
“The NHS is a complex organization due to the diversity of care settings, applications and vendors,” said Dr. Mark Ferrar, director of infrastructure at NHS Connecting for Health, the government agency tasked with delivering IT change programs for the NHS in England. “Our ultimate goal is to make systems easier to use and more consistent, and increase patient safety in the process. Microsoft’s expert role in helping us manage technologies and achieve cost savings is vital; initial feedback is very positive.”
The CUI means NHS doctors can spend more time focusing on providing optimal care to their patients and less time worrying about searching for the right way to enter information into the system. The delivery of phase one of the CUI is a milestone in Microsoft’s ongoing work to transform healthcare across England and worldwide.
CUI Fundamental to Microsoft’s Healthcare Vision
Following the design philosophy of the Connected Health Framework Architecture and Design Blueprint — a platform-agnostic set of design guidance and tools for delivering services oriented architectures for health — the CUI provides both platform- independent guidance for designing clinical interfaces that can be implemented on any software technology, as well as a reference implementation on the Microsoft platform and the .NET Framework. The CUI implementation is an important element of the Connected Health Platform, Microsoft’s implementation of the Connected Health Framework Architecture and Design Blueprint. The Connected Health Platform is in turn part of Microsoft’s overarching vision to help improve health around the world. That vision, termed Knowledge Driven Health, brings together Microsoft products, technologies and services with partner solutions to enable and support advances in world health. The CUI design guide sets a standard for the display of critical medical details. During the rigorous user-centered design process, more than 100 clinical needs were identified for standardization — from how names are displayed to the display of patient information, dosages and dates. The toolkit turns the design guide into software components that developers and health customers can deploy, at no cost, in their own existing or upcoming clinical applications, saving their customers both money and time to market.
EMIS, a major developer of primary care IT systems in the U.K., is leading the way by actively using the Microsoft Health CUI. “Microsoft Health CUI ensures a common look, feel and set of rules around standard processes in healthcare, which can help us shorten the development cycle on certain projects, adding value to clinicians and ultimately transferring benefits to the patient,” said Sean Riddell, healthcare managing director at EMIS. “Extending the Microsoft Health CUI beyond the U.K. will have a significant impact on patient safety worldwide.”
Potential Worldwide Benefits
Today’s announcement marks the completion of the first phase of the NHS Common User Interface Project, which follows more than two years of development work. The Web site is now available to developers around the world, and Microsoft has established a broader community to participate in the ongoing development of CUI guidance and tools.
Analysts say the Common User Interface Project could have far-reaching benefits as governments and organizations grapple with how to leverage the power of technology to address tough problems such as healthcare. “The Common User Interface has implications for the healthcare industry and ISVs worldwide,” said Marc Holland, program director at Health Industry Insights. “Healthcare systems around the world face challenges similar to the NHS, and healthcare providers and ISVs worldwide could benefit from engaging as a community in the ongoing development of the Common User Interface design guide and toolkit.”
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