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Usability

NISTIR 7988 "Integrating Electronic Health Records into Clinical Workflow:  An Application of Human Factors Modeling Methods to Ambulatory Care" is published.  This report recommendations provide a first step in moving from a billing-centered perspective (i.e., focusing on ensuring maximum and timely reimbursement) to a clinician-centered perspective where the EHR design supports clinical cognitive work.  These recommendations point the way towards a "patient visit management system," which incorporates broader notions of supporting workload management, supporting the flexible flow of patients and tasks and preventing common workarounds.


EHR Usability & Patient Safety Roundtable “Supporting Patient Safety through EHR Design” took place on April 19, 2013 at "The Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Baltimore, MD."

Roundtable presentations are now available.



Usability is "the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use" [ISO9241]. Usability represents an important yet often overlooked factor impacting the adoption and meaningful use of electronic health record (EHR) systems.  Without usable systems, doctors, medical technicians, nurses, administrative staff, consumers, and other users cannot gain the potential benefits of features and functions of EHR systems.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act provides financial incentives and other support to drive the adoption and meaningful use of EHRs.  A recent report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), however, identified key shortcomings among certified EHR vendors in the processes, practices and use of standards and best practices with regard to usability and human factors. Efficient and effective use of EHRs is essential as these systems increasingly become a central tool for patient care.

The NIST health IT Usability initiative is focused on establishing a framework that defines and assesses health IT usability.  The goal of the research effort, being conducted in collaboration with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is to create a detailed specification of an objective, repeatable procedure for measuring and evaluating the usability of health IT systems. The initiative will examine the human factors critical to designing usable EHRs and will guide industry in usability engineering practices.

The research findings will be used to support the development and evaluation methods for these standards.

Usability Fact Sheet


Comments/questions regarding NIST usability activities can be submitted to EHRUsability@nist.gov.

Events


EHR Usability & Patient Safety Roundtable "Supporting Patient Safety through EHR Design" took place on April 19, 2013 at, "The Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality, Baltimore, MD."

Creating Usable Electronic Health Records (EHRs): A User-Centered Design Best Practices Workshop-May 2012.

A Community-Building Workshop: Measuring, Evaluating and Improving the Usability of Electronic Health Records - June 2011.

Usability in Health IT: Technical Strategy, Research, and Implementation - July 2010.

Federal Partner Activities: