Designing for the ‘Public’ and the ‘Pros’

I read Seth Godin frequently. I like his style of thinking about and explaining things. Here, he discusses designing interfaces for the public and for pros.

How does this relate to healthcare IT? An example is when designing an image viewer interface. The needs of most clinicians (and certainly patients) are different from those of a Radiologist (though some ‘power users’ outside Radiology would disagree, if for no other reason than they feel they should get access to the same tools as Rads, so as not to be thought of as second-class citizens).

While enterprise IT staff want a single image management and viewing system to buy and manage, the needs of the users do vary and need to be considered. Select one optimized for Radiology and more basic imaging consumers are frustrated with the complexity. Provide a viewer that is simple to use, and power users complain about the lack of features.

Managing all images generated in the different departments in a VNA at least gives enterprise IT one of its wishes. As enterprise viewers evolve to provide more capability, more of the power users will shift from using the PACS to the enterprise viewer. The design challenge, of course, is to maintain the ease of use of the enterprise viewer as these more advanced features are added.

Many PACS interfaces were based on existing modality workstation design (in part to appeal to modality technologists and PACS admins, who were often former technologists), which was never a design priority or strength of modality manufacturers. Hopefully, enterprise image viewer developers use the opportunity to define some new interface designs, and not just copy the old, ineffective ones.

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