Thoughts, musings, and adventures of a user experience designer and front-end developer

Improving a user interface to protect patient privacy

In a health application I am working on, each application’s user has assigned roles.

Current Situation
The roles given to each user depends on the user’s current job function, credentials, and certifications. Each role gives access to specific screens and actions in the system. It is paramount that users are assigned the correct roles, otherwise they can view confidential health information, potentially creating a HIPAA violation.

Assigning roles to users in this application is a straightforward process. The application administrator navigates to the user’s roles assigning screen and adds the necessary roles for that user (see screenshot below):

An image showing how the assigned role screen is currently in the aplication

As mentioned before, it is paramount to assign the correct role to a user. In the application, each role has a description that provides essential information about the screens and actions the role provides access to. By reading the description, the application admin can determine if the role is appropriate to the application’s user.

Unfortunately, the current layout and interaction for displaying the description of these roles is not intuitive or user friendly and is the source of many complaints.

On the “Role Description” section, the administrator first needs to locate and select the role in the dropdown to view the description. Then, if appropriate, the administrator needs to locate that same role in the System assignment section and assign it. (see screenshots below)

During the redesign effort we tried to improve the role assignment screen. Instead of having two separate sections for roles and role description, the description now is listed under each role.

However, we realized that adding the description increased the space for each role, potentially causing users difficulty and creating longer scrolling. To solve this, we added functionality that gives the user the option to view the roles without the  description:

We tested these changes with our users. The responses we received were extremely positive. Hopefully with this redesign, role assignment is now a much easier task.

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