An interesting article caught my eye entitled “5 points of view from an EHR end user”. As a user experience researcher, I sensed the article could be similar to what my notes might look following an interview session with a clinician regarding their EHR use… and the article was almost just that.
The voice of the article is an MD who enlightens readers on some of his and his colleagues’ complaints with EHR systems.
One of my favorite statements he makes is that: physicians are open to new technologies. As consultants trying to improve the user experience of vendors' EHR systems, we often come up against unfounded beliefs that physicians are uncomfortable with technology. We know the opposite to be true. In fact, there is also evidence of this with other clinicians who embrace new technologies all the time. Examples of some of these technologies include: CT scanners, robotic surgery devices, ambulatory EEGs, and now smartphones.
So why have we seen examples of slow, frustrating adoption of EHRs? There are a number of reasons for this but the author nicely states: “…because we didn’t like them. They weren’t market ready.” In our experience, physicians don’t “like them” because they don’t meet their needs and are difficult to use. In 2009, the HIMSS EHR Usability Task Force conducted a survey of clinical users to identify user "pain points" that contribute to difficulties in using an EHR. The report identified workflow as the overwhelming problem in almost all facets of EHR usage.
Hearing this type of feedback from an end user truly helps build the business case for multidisciplinary teams of which it is key to have user experience professionals involved. At Macadamian, we use this approach to aid in the development of EHRs. Our work has taken us through the development process for multiple platforms and devices and because of our approach, the technologies have had positive reviews from their clinical end users.
What does all of this mean for us? If new technologies, such as the marriage of EHRs on hand-held devices like iPads, give clinicians what they actually want and can use, we can worry less about the technologies’ adoption rates. If new technologies help clinicians work faster and more effectively, thereby improving their workflow, we have proof from the horse’s mouth that there will indeed be early adopters.
Article reference: www.healthcareitnews.com/news/5-points-view-ehr-end-user
HIMSS reference: www.himss.org/asp/ContentRedirector.asp
About the Author
Anneliis Tosine is a User Experience Researcher in the UX Team at Macadamian. Anneliis’ background is in Biomedical Engineering with a focus on clinical applications and user-centered design.