Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

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HCI is the study of interaction between people and computers. Interaction between users and computers occurs at the user interface, which includes both software and hardware. According to the Association for Computer Machinery, HCI is concerned with the design, evaluation, and implementation of interactive computer systems for human use and with the study of major phenomena surrounding them. In the healthcare environment, and specifically implementing and electronic medical record (EMR), it is important to understand HCI to ensure the users and the computers interact successfully. The goals of HCI are to deploy usable, safe, and functional systems. Developers must try to understand how people use technology in order to produce computer systems used by their intended audience, which will improve the collection of accurate data. Consulting with the end users is important in gaining the understanding of their needs. Also, maintaining the involvement of the end user will often result in an increased acceptance of the new process or new system to be used. When evaluating the computer system, identifying the appropriate end user is important. Receiving feedback from someone who will interact with the interface on a daily basis is a good resource. Tasks the users will be performing and how often these tasks will be performed, need to also be defined. Measurements should be established, such as the number of users performing the tasks, the time it takes to complete the tasks, and the number of errors made. Once these evaluation procedures are in place, a system can be designed and tested. After the initial testing, the interface should be analyzed using the same established evaluation criteria. The developers should make changes where necessary as identified from the analysis of the testing, then, repeat the testing and evaluation process until an acceptable user interface is developed. Designing health care information systems utilizing HCI methodologies and usability resources is a critical aspect of increasing patient safety. Well designed computer interfaces and systems allow for correct data entry, understanding the display of information, and assisting with making skillful clinical decisions, which results in reduced errors. Additionally, using HCI concepts ultimately has a positive return on investment to the organization by identifying time needed to complete tasks, time needed to train staff, and the level of support staff involvement. Utilizing these concepts will result in reducing the end users frustration with the system and increases their productivity. Studies prove the benefits and the value of using HCI concepts in developing computer systems. As healthcare organizations implement EMRs, it is imperative to understand the need for human factors in developing computer systems to ensure their systems and their users work together effectively and efficiently.

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