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Euro IA Summit Wrap-Up (29 Jan 2006)
The world’s largest IT project (measured in cost) is the United Kingdom’s National Health Service system. The scale of this project is beyond everyday comprehension.

This presentation really shined in the illustrative identification of ethical considerations this critical project is facing. Some examples: the tsunami of paper records, the insane storage and security problems, the hidden health risks caused by the physical presence of IT in health care settings, the overwhelmed healthcare providers having to constantly learn new user interfaces, and the distancing barrier that IT often physically creates in relation to the patient. It’s staggering.

Now for some good news: Kit showed us his user experience approach to these issues. An important part was identifying high-level design goals, defining them as needing to deliver the “best” user experience and rejecting the acceptance of “merely good enough.” The common user interaction deliverables “must be better than anything currently out there or in development.” Iterative, user-centered design was the anchor for achieving these goals involving many different components in the process.

The presentation ended with a relieving positive snapshot of what the National Healthcare Service is achieving and its scale of influence. He cited its leadership in the world of joined-up healthcare and predicted its influence on product development, especially in the areas of infection-resistant hardware, the A5 tablet PC, and in the design of next generation mobile devices.
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