The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is hosting a workshop on usability of electronic health records (EHR) on June 7, 2011, at NIST's campus in Gaithersburg, Md. "A Community-Building Workshop: Measuring, Evaluating and Improving the Usability of Electronic Health Records" will bring together industry, government, academia and healthcare providers to identify models and methods for collaborating to improve the usability of EHR systems.
"Moving the science and practice of evaluating EHR usability forward has required an open and transparent community effort. We hope to build on our workshop last year to catalyze collaboration among stakeholders in this important field, receive constructive feedback on methods for evaluating usability, and identify priority areas for future work," said NIST computer scientist Matt Quinn, one of the workshop's organizers.
Usability objectively assesses how easy EHR systems are to learn and operate, while maximizing efficiency. A health information technology (IT) industry task force identified usability* as one of the major factors—possibly the most important factor—hindering widespread adoption of EHRs in clinical settings. The same task force noted that usability has a strong, often direct relationship with clinical productivity, user satisfaction, lower error rate and less user fatigue.
The NIST health IT usability initiative focuses on providing guidance to the public and private sectors in the development of health IT usability standards and measures. NIST collaborates closely with industry, academia and other government agencies to share best practices on electronic health record usability as well as to gather technical feedback toward development of EHR usability evaluation methods.
There is no cost to attend this workshop. To register and learn more about "A Community-Building Workshop: Measuring, Evaluating and Improving the Usability of Electronic Health Records."
* See the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2009 report, Defining and Testing EMR Usability: Principles and Proposed Methods of EMR Usability Evaluation and Rating at www.himss.org/content/files/HIMSS_DefiningandTestingEMRUsability.pdf.