Brand New Silverlight 2 Application: Healthcare Demonstrator

I have been fairly quiet for the last few months, and one of the reasons is that I have been working on a Silverlight 2 application, showcasing some future thinking for rich UI in the healthcare space.

The Microsoft Health Common User Interface: Patient Journey Demonstrator is the result of work from a very small team based here in the UK, and we think, is a great example of a Rich Internet Application demonstrating an LOB scenario, but using the power of Silverlight to provide beautiful, meaningful ways of representing incredibly complex data.


The blurb from the site…

The Microsoft Health Common User Interface (MSCUI) Patient Journey Demonstrator is a vehicle for Microsoft thought leadership in state-of-the-art User Experience for Healthcare applications. It provides exemplar implementations of Microsoft Common User Interface guidance on a Microsoft platform.

It is our showcase for new ideas, experimentation and an artefact for learning and thinking about future developments of the MSCUI program.


The demonstrator is actually broken up into 3 separate applications, describing the ‘day-in-the-life’ of a patient from the perspective of a primary care administrator, a GP, and a registrar in a hospital. The UI is completely interactive and you are able to explore, manipulate, layer and scale the patient’s data to create rich visualisations.

Over the next couple of months, I want to blog about some of the things we have built here, how we did it, share snippets of code, and talk more about how we are developing it further.

Some of the cool things in Silverlight 2 that we are already using include (but are not limited to J)…

·         Deep zoom to view complex ECG (electrocardiogram) data

·         Intelligent, scaling layout

·         Data-binding everywhere

·         Animation and media

·         Vector graphics enabling real time manipulation of chart data

A video covering some of this is in the pipeline, so watch this space!

Big thanks to the team invloved in building this…

In the mean time, head over to the site and please share any feedback / ideas either here or on our CodePlex discussion board here.




A few users outside of the UK are experience a bug with the Primary Care and Secondary Care demonstrators. The symptom is when they try to launch the either of these demonstrators, they see our default error dialogue stating: “This application has encountered a problem and needs to close. Please, try restarting it. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

We have identified that the problem is due to current ‘Regional and Language’ settings. The reason is because we do various things with the formatting of dates, but have only extensively tested with the UK date format. We have now logged the issue and are aiming to release the demonstrator with the fix when Silverlight 2 Beta 2 ships.

There is a workaround though in the meantime. You can access the second parts of the demonstrator by changing you current language format to ‘English (United Kingdom)’. You can access this in Windows Vista via…

Control Panel -> Regional and Langauge Options -> Formats (tab) and selecting ‘English (United Kingdom)’ from the drop-down.

Many thanks again, and please keep the feedback coming.




Comments (15)

  1. Marcel says:

    Awesome stuff! I like the switching of layouts and levels of detail. Thanks for showing what Silverlight can do!

  2. Peter Morris says:

    I think certainly is an excellent showcase for SilverLight but unfortunately not for the app itself.

    I think the GUI is far too "busy", I personally found it unintuitive.

  3. martin.grayson says:

    Thanks for the feedback so far. The piece about how we manage the vast amount of patient data on one screen is a good one, and keeps us awake at night!

    In this release, we have just begun to scratch the surface of how we manage the amount of content on the screen… for example, we allow the user to expand panels they are interested in, but we now need to take this to the next level and look at how we can help the user navigate through all of the information.

    This app is an iterative, organic project and we really value any feedback, so please keep it coming!

  4. Edddy says:

    I agree with Peter, the GUI is a mess, nice showcase, but a failure from the UX point of view.

  5. Michaud says:

    Hey, MartinG 🙂

    Great work! Its an awesome display of what Silverlight 2.0 can deliver. I’m going to be ransacking the code to see what you have cooked up 🙂

  6. . says:

    Martin Grayson and team have created an amazing healthcare demo using Silverlight 2.  Check it out

  7. Great example and a nice demonstration of Silverlight. I am working on a WPF based application in almost the same market, so I will check this blog regularly.

  8. martin.grayson says:

    Great to hear all your thoughts, and I want to encourage all feedback, both things that you think work well and things that you think we still have challenges with.

    During the design process we actually heavily involved clinicians from both primary and secondary care to help us understand just what information they need on the screen to make patient safe decisions, the challenge for us is to think about how we can handle that volume of information in a patient safe way. I think that as we see this piece of work evolve we will see a clearer, cleaner way of presenting some of the navigation.

    Please visit where we are encouraging clinicians and developers to give their personal comments on the work we have done so far.

  9. martin.grayson says:

    For users experiencing issues opening either the Primary or Secondary Care demonstrators, please take a look at the "NOTE FOR USERS OUTSIDE OF THE UK:-" note added to the post above.



  10. Chris says:


    I think the UI is simply awesome!  I have been working with WPF for almost 2 years Silverlight 2 starting with beta 1. Your app reminds me that, as developers and designers, we have to start thinking outside the box and explore what WPF and Silverlight have to offer.  Keep up the good work!


  11. Matt says:

    The UI may look busy to some but for a Doctor of other clinician this is exactly what they want to see when they look at someone’s chart. For someone who develops software in the medical field there’s alot of information a Doctor must see on 1 screen. I think what’s presented in the Demonstrator works well although I would choose some lighter colors for certain controls but that’s a personal opinion. One of the biggest challenges developing software to cater for this kind of market is being able to display so much information onto the screen but still have it look good and understanable.

    Some Doctors may only have 10 minutes to see and diagnose a patient that every extra click or dialog window that needs to be brought up slows them down over an entire day. When they have to bring up mutliple windows to find out different bits of info about a patient that can eat into their time with the patient.

  12. kierepka says:

    Nice. We will try to use thsi UI as referency to our software.

    Bug in current version is in localization (anyone who have problems with it should just change , (common) to . (dot) in localization settings in Windows settings.

  13. Mark Gibbins says:

    I love the ideas with this but like some people have mentioned it’s a little too busy, in particular the Admin and Primary Care areas are confusing. I found it hard to get to a specific set of information quickly and nobody wants to spend their day using a search box all day. I’m working with the NHS at the moment actually on improving their IT platform. Silverlight is definitely one of the options we’re exploring but I feel like it still has a way to go. A lot of the time the UI feels laggy and unresponsive and it would be a hefty demand on some of the older hardware the NHS is currently using.

    Very promising work though! Don’t get me wrong. I love the design and ideas, it just needs more work.

  14. martin.grayson says:

    Thanks for your continued comments and feedback. We are will be releasing a new version very soon, and as always, would welcome your comments on the new features.

    Keep checking back for updates!