Microsoft Common User Interface for Health Applications--Take 1.3

Bill Crounse 2007 03 On several occasions, I've told you about some excellent work that is being done to help define a common user interface for clinical applications.  This work addresses the important patient safety and user dissatisfaction issues that arise when clinicians are forced to use software applications in clinical practice that all look and behave differently.  Imagine moving from hospital to hospital or clinic to clinic and encountering an entirely different user interface and clinical system each place you work.  It would be like asking accountants to be equally proficient on a wide variety of spreadsheet applications or writers to know how to expediently edit on every kind of document software on the market.   That just wouldn't work.  Clinical work-flow is no different.  We clinicians need standardized applications and a common user interface to help us practice medicine safely and efficiently, no matter where we are.

As far back as 2005, Microsoft started working with developers, clinicians and other experts in the United Kingdom's National Health Service to define a common and more standardized user interface for clinical applications.  In July of 2007, Microsoft made this work available free to developers around the world by launching an initiative and web site known as MSCUI (Microsoft Common User Interface).


MSCUI provides User Interface Design Guidance and Toolkit controls that address a wide range of patient safety concerns for healthcare organizations worldwide, allowing a new generation of safer, more usable and compelling health applications to be quickly and easily created.  The newest release of this work, V1.3, is aimed at user interface designers, application developers and patient safety experts who want to find out more about the benefits of a standardized approach to user interface design.

There are 5 key elements to the newest release:

  1. The announcement of a new Technology Strategy moving to Silverlight 2 and Windows Presentation Foundation for all future controls, samples and demonstrators.
  2. Publication of an interactive Delivery Roadmap outlining what guidance and controls we will be developing, when and how the community can engage.
  3. Publication of new and updated Design Guidelines.
  4. Publication of a new Medications Listview control for Silverlight 2 and WPF.
  5. Launch of a new Patient Journey Demonstrator which showcases CUI design guidelines, controls and future UI concepts in a Silverlight 2 application

I think clinicians and developers alike will be especially thrilled to see the CUI design work and future concepts featured in the Patient Journey Demonstrator.  To my way of thinking, this is what clinicians have been waiting for all along.  This is truly an advanced look at the next generation of clinical systems, and the kind of software we'll be using to care for our patients in the years ahead.

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My congratulations and thanks to colleagues Andrew Kirby, Su Brown, and the CUI Clinical Applications & Patient Safety team in Microsoft Services UK for another great release of the Microsoft Health Common User Interface.  You can learn more about MSCUI by visiting the web site or watching this video I did last summer with Microsoft UK services director, Andrew Kirby.

Bill Crounse, MD  Senior Director, Worldwide Health   Microsoft Corporation

Technorati tags: patient safety, EMR, HIS, clinical applications, user interface design, intuitive design, best practices