Senior-friendly user interface

Image Credit: geralt @

Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group in Canada. The ageing population adds tremendous strain on financial as well as physical health infrastructure and resources. One effective strategy to counter this is to involve the patients and their circle of care in the care process. Initiatives such as McMaster’s TAPESTRY (Teams Advancing Patient Experience: Strengthening Quality) adopt this approach, leveraging the power of locally developed open-source EMR and PHR systems.

Many of the open-source PHR systems have poor user interfaces (UI) by any standards while older adults have specific interface requirements. Credible research on the special interface requirements of elderly is still hard to find. This article from Smashing Magazine is one of the most useful resources that I found online that gives actionable instructions. Hopefully comprehensive studies on ageing population such as The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) would be able to provide insights on the requirements of seniors.

When we started the Patient Controlled and Contributed Health Record (PCCHR) project, a senior-friendly interface was our top priority. PCCHR is an openMRS module that allows patients to contribute self-monitored data to their physician’s EMR and share part or all of the data with the circle of care. We are planning to adopt two strategies to augment the user interface (UI). We will be developing a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) client that leverages Windows 10 Cortana for voice commands (Scaffolded here). Second is to customize the Angular-Material library for user interface elements using senior-friendly CSS. Both will be useful beyond this project for other use cases as well.

PCCHR is an open-source project that needs your help to reach our goal. Experience in OpenMRS platform, ReactJS, AngularJS, d3js, hGraph, Ionic, Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps, Python or Raspberry Pi would be useful. Even if you are not a programmer, you can help us with testing, designing and documentation. Read more about PCCHR here.

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