Microsoft Health Common User Interface (CUI) Guidance and Controls

Microsoft’s been tying to make some major inroads into healthcare IT (some impressive, others that are a little “me too”). They are strong in the office automation and general computing space in hospitals but weak in the healthcare-specific vertical and clinical areas. One of the areas that Microsoft’s always been strong is supporting the development community and they’re starting to make some good progress in health IT (specifically health not the just IT part). I’m a Microsoft Solutions Architect MVP and believe me they know how to take care of developers.

Microsoft recently released their Common User Interface (CUI) documents which provides developers, users, and UI specialists with healthcare-specific guidance.

I’ve gone through many of the documents and for people that have been in the business for a while (or like me who have actually built about dozen healthcare systems) much of the information is obvious. However, if you’re new to healthcare IT and design, I definitely recommend taking a look. Even if you already know the material, it’s great to base new development on something like this so that your engineers and UI specialists don’t reinvent the wheel. All development teams need guidelines like these and if you lead a team creating healthcare software you owe it to yourself to take a look and use the guidelines directly or adapt them to your liking.

In addition to the guidelines there are also .NET (ASP.NET and desktop) controls that put into practice much of the guidance. Just be careful that once you start using the controls you may no longer be platform-independent. Before jumping straight into the code, try to adapt the documents and build your own UI standards around it and then see if the controls make sense to use.

Here are the common user interface guidance areas they’ve implemented so far:

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8 thoughts on “Microsoft Health Common User Interface (CUI) Guidance and Controls

  1. Shahid – beautifully stated. Many developers, architects, and analysts need to remember the basics of what is stated in these documents and be consistent in the use of these tools. It is about patient safety and ease of use for the user. These guides also provide a good template for what a UI styleguide can be. Organizations can use this as a solid example and decide what is relevant documentation and ignore the rest.

  2. The PACS Designer


    The Microsoft Common User Interface provides a platform from which healthcare organizations can build their own style of user applications by starting with a basic solution that is already in use in the United Kingdom and was built with user input. Thank you Shahid for educating your readers about the Microsoft CUI.

  3. Definitely a useful resource & I may well use those documents in my next (ironically, open source) project. But i think to be taken with a pinch of salt. Parts of those documents are dangerously close to OBS templates and I don’t think that is what they are intended for. For example (even after a cursory look), the section on medication management includes:

    . include only items in the list that are capable of being administered at some point in the
    . By default, include all items in a single list
    . Order the list according to the next likely administration task/action, with the most pressing
    action at the top – see the rules detailed in section 2.3.1

    A little presumptuous perhaps?

  4. Very informative post, I liked it. Do you think Microsoft will be leading this, or it will face serious competition?

  5. Shahid- you rightly captured ,these documents are well stated and can serve as template/start point application providers.But to me it seems they are more aligned with UK and inspired by work on NHS by different software providers and at several places lack commonality and cross-platform design.

  6. Do you know if a Java implementation already exists
    based on Microsoft Health CUI specifications?

    (or, at least, if there are starting projects with the goal to implement it)

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