Designing Patient-facing Health Information Technologies for the Outpatient Settings: A Literature Review

Yushi Yang, Onur Asan



Introduction: The implementation of health information technologies (HITs) has changed the dynamics of doctor–patient communication in outpatient settings. Designing patient-facing HITs provides patients with easy access to healthcare information during the visit and has the potential to enhance the patient-centred care.


Objectives: The objectives of this study are to systematically review how the designs of patient-facing HITs have been suggested and evaluated, and how they may potentially affect the doctor–patient communication and patient-centred care.


Method: We conducted an online database search to identify articles published before December 2014 relevant to the objectives of this study. A total of nine papers have been identified and reviewed in this study.


Results: Designing patient-facing HITs is at an early stage. The current literature has been exploring the impact of HITs on doctor–patient communication dynamics. Based on the findings of these studies, there is an emergent need to design more patient-centred HITs. There are also some papers that focus on the usability evaluation of some preliminary prototypes of the patient-facing HITs. The design styles of patient-facing HITs included sharing the health information with the patients on: (1) a separate patient display, (2) a projector, (3) a portable tablet, (4) a touch-based screen and (5) a shared computer display that can be viewed by both doctors and patients. Each of them had the strengths and limitations to facilitate the patient-centred care, and it is worthwhile to make a comparison of them in order to identify future research directions.


Conclusion: The designs of patient-facing HITs in outpatient settings are promising in facilitating the doctor-patient communication and patient engagement. However, their effectiveness and usefulness need to be further evaluated and improved from a systems perspective.



Patent-facing HIT; Screen Sharing; EHR; Macroergonomics

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