Biometrics in the New York Times

I am investigating the use of biometrics for both clinician login and patient verification as part of my EMR-related Master’s project, so it was interesting to see this cautionary article in the New York Times.

When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line

As design students, we are trained to recognize problems in our designs and address them rather than let them deter us from our end goal. So I do not want to dismiss the concerns expressed in the article, but better definition of the specific risks involved would be needed before they could be mitigated.

Unfortunately, comments are not enabled for that article, so such discussion is not possible there. I welcome any civil arguments, pro or con, to be shared here.

John Hersey, The New York Times, 11/10/12

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Why I’m Here

My name is Don Pancoe, and I am an electrical engineer of 20+ years who is now in the 2nd year of the MS Industrial Design program at Philadelphia University. This blog is my place to post work, receive feedback and have conversations related to my Master’s project.

I began investigating EMR user interface issues as part of a related project (and here and here) in my first semester (Fall 2011). At that time, I had identified the “low-hanging fruit” opportunities of redesigning instruments to automatically capture data and images into the patient’s electronic record, thereby eliminating manual data-entry steps that can be quite disruptive to the exam. I also looked at ideas for quickly displaying current readings in context with historical data to aid the clinician in conveying important issues to the patient.

Revisiting the topic for my full-year Master’s project, I am looking for broader opportunities for improvement. For example, I’m looking at the overall EMR ecosystem, both present and future, in which my designs must exist. I am also looking at my designs in the context of exam workflow to see if they can be revised to better fit that workflow, or even if there are cases where the workflow itself should be reexamined.

I have come to realize that my original ideas for automated data capture and charting, while improving efficiency, could also promote a “source-based” approach as opposed to one that is “problem-based” (borrowing terminology from Dr. Lawrence Weed). To this end, I definitely want to incorporate the idea of SOAP notes into my design, but in the interest of limiting keyboard-and-mouse interaction, I am looking into voice recognition technology as an option.

I will continue to post here as the project progresses (due to complete by May 2013), and as new questions and discussion topics arise.