Safety-enhanced Design

The top 5 EHR usability problems and how to fix them!

This year at HIMSS in Las Vegas there was no shortage of talk about the “lack of usability” in EHRs.  In the final HIMSS16 show daily (Thursday March 3, 2016) there were four articles (“When EHRs cause Harm,” “5 UX steps to Healthy Clinical apps,” “Nurse: We face severe IT usability problems,” and “The leading health IT issues? Poor usability and missing safeguards”) that addressed some aspect of EHR usability.

For The Usability People, LLC the time for talk has long been over.  Many of you already know that we have been on an active campaign--by giving talks at conferences, on social media, and with our many Healthcare clients--to improve the usability of Health IT.  We don’t want more talk, we want to DO SOMETHING about this important healthcare issue.  Usability in healthcare it can save lives. 

 

Safe HealthIT SAVES LIVES!

Many EHRs really do suck, as ZDoggMD described in his very popular parody video 'EHR state of Mind'. But without some nudge towards an improved user experience many of the "less than optimal" EHRs will only get worse as they grow and Engineering-centric developers add more and more features on top of a poorly designed information architecture.

Vehicles are not allowed to be sold in the USA unless they have meet strict safety standards, why isn't this the same for EHRs?

Don't like 30 clicks to order Ambien? How about 50!

EHR usability Gap - Specified Context of Use

The efficient and effective use of Electronic Health Records are essential, as these systems are increasingly becoming a central tool for patient care.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provided providers with a significant financial incentive to increase the adoption and use of EHRs. EHR vendors were required to conduct and report on a summative usability evaluation of their system as part of the Stage 2 Meaningful Use program (The ONC 2014 Edition Certification) and beyond. However, a recent report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), identified several “issues” with the certified EHR vendors in the processes, practices and use of standards and best practices with regard to usability and human factors.

Auto bumpers and HealthIT Interoperability

Ralph Nadar's book Unsafe At Any Speed raised public awareness of some of the safety problems associated with the Chevrolet Corvair.  Nadar’s book, however, was also an indictment of the auto industry as a whole and served as a lightning rod for legislation establishing what would eventually become the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

These two industries, HealthIT and automobiles have quite a lot in common including that they are both highly regulated.  These regulations exist because in both industries poor design can lead to safety issues and the possible death of their user’s.

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