User Experience (UX) in Healthcare IT

The study of usability, user experience (UX), human factors and human-computer interaction is well established and decades old.  While user experience methodologies are highly utilized in other technologically-focused industries (aviation, product design, mobile, web design, etc.), user experience is a relatively new field to the healthcare industry as a whole.   The increased usage of health IT accross all care delivery settings has forced a serious look at user experience, human/computer interaction, and workflow optimization as it relates to the provision and consumption of healthcare.

  • Gain an understanding of the major terminology
  • Explore the major issues and opportunities in user experience
  • Access resources created for & by the HIMSS HIT User Experience committee and community.

HIMSS18 User Experience Community Schedule

Learn more about HIMSS18 education programming focused on usability, user experience and user-centered design

HIMSS17 User Experience Highlight

What is User Experience, Usability, and User-Centered Design?

Everyone has a user experience.  Before we explore the issues and opportunities associated with user experience in healthcare, a shared language is helpful.  With all maturing fields of study, the terminology of the study of human/computer interaction has changed from the early years of human factors research back in the early 21st century to the various associated fields within user-centered design research being performed today in academia and in the field.  Gain understanding of that terminology based on internationally-recognized standards here.

What is the Role of User Experience in Healthcare?

A user experience (UX) is present in any setting in which a human is interacting with technology.  The increased usage of electronic medical records has brought the topic of user experience into focus for the healthcare industry.  That focus has acted as an important opening salvo in the integration of user-centered design principles into the healthcare industry processes, products, and workflows.  In addition to the EMR UX, there are user experience issues and opportunities accross all technologies associated with the modern delivery of healthcare.

Explore the user experience, usability, and user-centered design principles in:

ACOs | Ambulatory Settings | Clinical & Business Intelligence | Clinical Informatics

Clinical Decision Support | Consumer Health | EHRs | Health Business Solutions 

Health Information Exchange | Health Insurance Marketplaces | ICD-10 | Innovation | mHealth 

Patient Engagement | Payors & Health Plans | Pharma & Life Sciences | Privacy & Security 

Quality & Patient Safety | Rural Health


What HIMSS Resources & Research Focus on User Experience


  • HIMSS Usability Maturity Model: This resource supports healthcare executives to measure how well your organization incorporates usability and other user-centered design (UCD) priniciples into it's development and strategic planning processes.  The five phase model provides a common vocabulary for the healthcare & healthcare IT industry to quanitify their UCD efforts both internally and externally to the marketplace.
  • HIMSS EMR Usablity Evaluation Toolkit: This resource is an aid to clinician practices engaged in selection of an electronic medical record (EMR) system. While formal, professionally conducted, usability evaluations can provide in-depth product comparisons, this may not be a practical consideration for small to medium size practices. This toolkit outlines some basic steps to include in a vendor selection process that will help practices evaluate EMR usability based on current usability recommendations and best practices. While the target audience of this resources is smaller practices, the steps outlined in this resource can also be used by medium-sized & large practices, as well as other healthcare institutions.
  • HIMSS' 9 Essential Principles of Software Usability: These nine essential principles of software usability can be applied directly to the evaluation of electronic medical record (EMR) systems.  While usability principles apply to all software, this set has been assessed and put forth as being those principles of key concern related to EMRs.
  • Electronic Health Record Design: Patterns for Patient Safety: Developed by the Electronic Health Record Association (EHRA), in response to the ongoing discussion of health information technology (IT) and its potential impacts on patient safety — both in preventing errors and contributing to miscommunications — the EHRA offers this Electronic Health Record Design Patterns for Patient Safety. This document was created through a collaborative effort of EHRA member companies’ software designers and engineers, human factors experts, clinicians, and other staff who bring decades of experience in the development and deployment of EHRs in healthcare organizations of varying sizes and specialties.




How Do I Get Involved with User Experience at HIMSS

HIT User Experience Community

The HIT User Experience community is one of the fasting growing communities within the organization.

Explore the community and its resources>

HIT User Experience Committee

The community is led by the HIT User Experience committee, made up of a group of community members with a diverse set of experiences and perspectives on the topic of user experience in healthcare IT.

Learn more about the committee>

Share Your User Experience (UX)

Everyone has a user experience. We want you to share yours. 

HIMSS is looking for individuals with a passion for user experience to share their stories as part of a multimedia story database.  We are looking for participants to record a 10-15 minute phone interview with HIMSS discussing their opinions on user experience as it relates to EHRs, interoperability, mHealth, patient safety, and privacy/security.  These interviews will be catalogued by topic & question, and will be available on demand as part of HIMSS' user experience resources.

HIMSS wants to hear about you. Contact Adam Bazer, Sr. Manager, Health Information Systems to share your UX story today.