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.
Comments/questions regarding NIST usability activities can be submitted to EHRUsability@nist.gov (link sends e-mail).
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