Study Finds EHR Vendors’ User-Centered Design Practices Vary

June 11, 2015 in News

Electronic health record vendors’ processes for creating user friendly designs varies, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, FierceEMR reports.

Study Details

For the study, researchers reviewed the user-centered design processes at 11 undisclosed vendors. They also sought to identify challenges vendors face when integrating usability with EHR development.

According to FierceEMR, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s 2014 Edition EHR Certification Criteria requires vendors to:

  • Show their user-centered design process; and
  • Report the results of usability testing.

Study Findings

According to the study, EHR vendors’ user-centered design processes can be divided into three categories:

  • Well developed;
  • Basic; and
  • Misconceptions, such believing that responding to requests and complaints qualifies as user-centered design.

Barriers to improving EHR usability varied by which category a vendor was in, according to the study (Durben Hirsch, FierceEMR, 6/9). For example, vendors with:

  • Well-developed user-centered design processes reported issues with getting providers to share health IT hazards associated with the EHR system (Ratwani et al., JAMIA, 6/6);
  • Basic user-centered design processes faced knowledge gaps and had difficulty recruiting experts to discuss such processes; and
  • Misconceptions did not see the need or business case for investing in user centered design processes.

The study also found that some vendors, particularly smaller companies, did not have any EHR usability experts on their staff.

According to the researchers, the findings suggest EHR certification requirements might need to be modified. They also recommended that further research be conducted to determine whether there is an association between usability and the quality of the process used (FierceEMR, 6/9).

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