The design of electronic clinics (introduction)

This is the introduction for a book i have been working on for some time. The content is fairly fleshed out and will be posting chapters with some regularity. The overall concept is that we come from a brick and mortar society. The companies designing for this mildly new medium of bringing healthcare and other services online may be approaching this from the wrong direction. Although Electronic Medical Records are critical, it is the interaction between the providers and patients that is central to the information that goes into the record. A central space where people can meet with their providers is still lacking sorely, and there is a huge underserved population that is rural, time constrained, and or uninsured (also take into account the agoraphobics).


The Mayo Clinic was the first institution to implement paper health records in the late 1800s, they were also first to implement Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) into their clinical system about a century later. During this period both private and public institutions began designing and developing their own EMR systems, which in turn created widespread incompatibilities, lack of standardization, and functional failures. These issues and the fact that EHRs have been improperly prioritized over patient care continue to hamper progress in developing successful Electronic Health Clinics (EHCs).

A better way to approach the issue of online care delivery is to first build an EHC and then integrate the EMR into the system. Approaching the EMR as a component and focusing on customer experience though interaction design and strategic information architecture allows project teams to deliver a far more pleasant, effective and repeatable clinical experience.

This set of posts will provide an overview of the electronic healthcare industry, why progress has been slow as well as some best practices used when designing EHCs – from working with the appropriate development model to building components such as sessions, profiles, scheduling and billing.


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