Microsoft unveils user interface for health apps

By John Moore
01:00 AM
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Microsoft today announced the availability of a software toolkit that the company said will help developers create user interfaces for health care applications.

The Microsoft Health Common User Interface, or CUI, stems from collaboration between Microsoft and the National Health Service in England. Microsoft offers CUI at no cost via download at http://www.mscui.net

CUI focuses on electronic medical record applications, according to Tim Smokoff, general manager, worldwide health at the Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft.

The toolkit, he said, can use industry standards such as the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine ? Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT). The International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation maintains the SNOMED CT clinical health care terminology.

The Continuity of Care Record (CCR), developed by ASTM International among other organizations, provides a standard for health records. Smokoff said it is "for [independent software vendors] and developers to use the toolkit to create an interface for something like CCR. We are not defining a single [user interface], but tools to help create a common look and feel."

Smokoff reported high levels of interest in CUI from ISVs in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Microsoft's CUI toolkit consists of a set of .NET 2.0 controls, which Microsoft said will help independent software vendors "build safe, consistent user interfaces for health care applications."

The toolkit controls are designed for use in ASP.NET AJAX applications and WinForms.NET. The company said the Web versions of the controls are based on the ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit.

To use the toolkit controls, developers must have Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (Standard, Professional, Developer, Test, Architect or Team Suite Edition) with Service Pack 1, according to Microsoft. Developers must also install ASP.NET 2.0 AJAX Extensions 1.0 if they plan to download the ASP.NET AJAX controls.

The design guidance for designing clinical interfaces is written "to be agnostic of technology platform," Smokoff said. But CUI also includes a reference implementation based on the Microsoft platform and the .Net Framework, according to Microsoft.