Reference: Poon, A. D.; Fagan, L. M.; & Shortliffe, E. H. The PEN-Ivory Project: Exploring User-Interface Design for the Selection of Items from Large Controlled Vocabularies of Medicine. Knowledge Systems Laboratory, Medical Computer Science, August, 1995.
Abstract: Objective: To develop and test different user-interface designs for structured progress note entry, with a long-term goal of generalizing the results to any computer user interface where users select items from large medical vocabularies. Design: The authors created eight different prototypes of a pen-based progress note writing system called PEN-Ivory. Each prototype allows physicians to write patient progress notes using simple pen-based gestures such as circle, line-out, and scratch-out. The result of an interaction with PEN-Ivory is a progress note in English prose. The eight prototypes were designed in a principled way, so that they differ from one another in just one of three different user-interface characteristics. Measurements: Five of the eight prototypes were tested by measuring the time it took 15 users, each using a different prototype, to document three patient cases consisting of a total of 63 medical findings. Results: The prototype that allowed the fastest data entry had the following three user-interface characteristics: it used a paging rather than a scrolling form, it used a fixed palette of modifiers rather than a dynamic "pop-up" palette, and it made available all findings from the controlled vocabulary at once rather than displaying only a subset of findings generated by analyzing the patient's problem list. Conclusion: Even simple design changes to a user interface can make dramatic differences in user performance. The authors discuss possible influences on performance, such as positional constancy, user uncertainty, and system anticipation that may contribute significantly to the effectiveness of systems that display menus of items from large controlled vocabularies of medicine.