During the tenure of NHS Connecting for Health (2005-2013), a need was identified for consistency in the display of common items and their layout on screens, driven by a desire to reduce the likelihood of clinical errors through misinterpretation of information.
The Common User Interface (CUI) set out to define a common interface for healthcare IT systems. Nine standards were adopted for interface components including Address Input and Display, Date and Time Input, and NHS Number Input and Display. More detail on each of the nine standards can be seen under the alphabetical list of standards published for use in England.
The CUI standards are 'output standards' which provide reference wireframes instructing suppliers how to lay out their screens. They constrain output at the level of interface design but exercise little or no control over the other elements that combine to shape user experiences.
The CUI content has not been updated since the closure of NHS Connecting for Health and is now hosted in the National Archives. The CUI standards should not be relied on as interface design standards. Nevertheless, there is still residual value in several of the data elements identified within them.
Before fully deprecating the CUI, a formal review will be completed, in partnership with NHS England, and new guidance will be published which identifies those useful data elements in the current CUI standards which are still relevant to ensuring patient safety and continue to promote clinical take up of health and care IT.