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US Depart of Veterans' Affairs

Comtech served as the primary interface-design and human factors consultant for the US Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) task force designing the VA’s graphic user interface for its clinical and hospital-information systems. The VA task force is responsible for setting standards, establishing guidelines, and recommending development processes for all interface design.

Comtech trained VA software designers in the principles and practices of user-centered interface design and usability assessment. We evaluated prototype interface designs developed by VA programmers and reviewed product interfaces developed by key vendors of clinical and hospital-information systems for the VA. Our team researched and wrote guidelines for interface design based on industry best practices. The guidelines outline the processes to be used in interface development, including needs assessment, prototype development, and iterative testing.

Usability specialists at Comtech worked with the VA team in conducting usability tests of the new patient chart system, including order-entry and results reporting. The initial testing involved VA staff physicians inexperienced using graphic interface tools. The initial tests established a standard for usability testing within the VA.

In addition to the work on the clinical systems, Comtech worked with the VA development group responsible for the internal e mail system used throughout the VA. For the project, Comtech worked with the team to write a usability test plan and conduct an on-site usability test. The test results led to a decision to redesign the e mail system to increase its usability.

For more information, visit our User experience design page.

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