“Humanizing Technology” for Physicians
Earlier this week the New York Times Bits blog featured an introduction to the field of “human-computer interaction” – essentially a fancy name for “usability”. The title of the piece was “Humanizing Technology,” which struck a chord – because that’s precisely what PatientKeeper seeks to do for physicians (specifically with software to support physicians’ workflow).
The Times article focused on Ben Schneiderman, a University of Maryland professor and a pioneer in human-computer interaction, who described leaders in the field as people with “a deep knowledge of technology and a real sensitivity to human needs.” Again, this resonated – because it’s sensitivity to the plight of physicians who have been unfairly burdened by IT that has driven PatientKeeper to develop the solutions we offer.
The outcry from physicians against today’s EHRs suggests that human-computer interaction was not a primary consideration of the developers of those systems. One can only hope that Prof. Schneiderman is correct when he predicts that “the goal of tomorrow’s software will be less on features on a web site or smartphone and more on design that encourages better outcomes for individuals and society in, say, education or health care.”