Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The "unfriendliness" of information technology is a barrier to obtaining the possible benefits from technology. Making technology easy to use is essential to adoption and diffusion and is a prerequisite to full acceptance.

The process of capturing and presenting medical data is a common limitation for health information systems. In most applications, patients and different health care providers use the same terminals which were developed for business or computer research purposes, and offer rather rigid and unfriendly user-interfaces. Typing data from a keyboard, for instance, is a tedious and time consuming process.

While for simpler applications in medicine existing workstations could be inexpensive and sufficient, developments specific for medicine are expected in at least two areas. One is in the high end of multi-modal working, typified by multi-dimensional imaging with the inclusion of data from other media like the patient record. The other is where the number of workstations and level of application warrant special development, typically for bedside units primarily for nurses.

In most cases voice input/output could increase the speed of information exchange. Although it may not be applicable to all areas of medical care, it is likely that it would be suitable to functions shuch as equipment control, ordering of investigations and creation of discharge summaries. Voice input into medical records creates a range of problems that have to be addressed, such as ensuring the integration of voice inputs with other media and the validation of inputs for correctness. Besides voice interactions, there are other presently more accessible means to interface with advanced technologies: textual, graphical, and icon systems, and touch screens and mulit-media.
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