apps

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. 

 

Hick’s and Fitt’s laws: Two important psychological principles to consider when designing navigational menu structures

Most web-based or mobile applications are organized in some type of hierarchical menu structure. Company information is usually located in an ‘about us’ tab, Products and Services each have a tab, etc.

Some company websites, for example, provide a menu structure that is initially simple, but then may require several more interactions to navigate down the tree to the target information.

See for example Verizon.com:

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!

Design for the users--not the requirements

Quick thought:

Use the persona’s to create realistic use cases based upon the real user's needs that you understand based upon your research. Usability people often call these use cases “user journey maps.”

Now, when you design your app, website or software product to engage the person that has to use it every day-- around their tasks (and not merely to satisfy regulatory requirements) the end users/patients will find the information presented to be easy to understand, useful to them, and they will freely engage with your system.

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