User interfaces in healthcare: Is poor ‘usability’ an epidemic?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In recent decades, we have seen medical diagnostics and treatment move into a man-machine endeavour. This is due to the fact that medicine now heavily relies on digital technology and most of these ‘machines’ have a user interface that requires interaction from healthcare professionals. These user interfaces range from bedside physiological monitors and cardiac defibrillators to laboratory information systems that document patient information and indeed specimens in the pathology laboratory. Given patient safety and the prevalence of medical errors have become a recent concern; the FDA and other organisations have developed policies and protocols for optimising the usability of medical devices. The usability of a medical device is crucial since a poor user interface can actually encourage 'use' errors, which can lead to a fatality or increased morbidity. This presentation will include human-machine interaction principles that can be used to engineer usability into a medical device. It will also include methodologies for measuring and quantifying the usability of a user interface. This will include the use of usability instruments, metrics, benchmarking techniques and quantitative analysis of ‘usability’ experiments. We will also explore how we can use psychophysiological metrics to measure the user experience, which can include the use of eye gaze metrics, GSR and even the heart rate of the user.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 8 May 2016
EventPathology Horizons - Galway
Duration: 8 May 2016 → …


ConferencePathology Horizons
Period8/05/16 → …


  • Medical informatics
  • usability
  • user experience
  • human-machine systems
  • human-computer interaction
  • HCI


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