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Healthcare Usability
The Future of medicine is Easy to Use
The Future of medicine is Easy to Use


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Ralph Nader's book Unsafe At Any Speed ;raised public awareness of some of the safety problems associated with the Chevrolet Corvair. Nader’s book, however, was also an indictment of the auto industry as a whole and served as a lightning rod for legislation establishing what would eventually become the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

These two industries, HealthIT and automobiles have quite a lot in common including that they are both highly regulated. These regulations exist because in both industries poor design can lead to safety issues and the possible death of their user’s.

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This year at HIMSS in Las Vegas there was no shortage of talk about the “lack of usability” in EHRs.  In the final HIMSS16 show daily (Thursday March 3, 2016) there were four articles (“When EHRs cause Harm(link is external),” “5 UX steps to Healthy Clinical apps(link is external),” “Nurse: We face severe IT usability problems(link is external),” and “The leading health IT issues? Poor usability and missing safeguards(link is external)”) that addressed some aspect of EHR usability.

For The Usability People, LLC the time for talk has long been over.  Many of you already know that we have been on an active campaign--by giving talks at conferences, on social media, and with our many Healthcare clients--to improve the usability of Health IT.  We don’t want more talk, we want to DO SOMETHING about this important healthcare issue.  Usability in healthcare it can save lives. 

Over the past few years we’ve worked with a number of EHR vendors on improving the usability of their solutions.  We’ve noticed a number of items that seem to common to many of the systems, and this list contains some of the most common and highest priority usability issues that should be avoided in your EHR designs.

Here are the top 5 issues we’ve seen across multiple EHRs we’ve tested:

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We have some great news: Our Chief Experience Officer, Bennett Lauber, was invited to join the ONC Health IT Policy Committee Implementation, Usability, and Safety Workgroup.  He will be sharing his experience working with EHR vendors with Federal regulators to influence public policy on the usability of health IT.

In a recent public comment regarding the 2014 Meaningful Use certification process, The Drummond Group (an ONC ATCB) stated that "from our experience .. the usability test effort is not a small undertaking for EHR vendors. In fact, it was essentially one of the most difficult criteria to complete.”  

"We conduct and report summative usability evaluations using the NISTIR 7742 Customized Common Industry Format Template for EHR Usability Testing—suitable for presentation as the Safety-enhanced Design criteria portion of your MU2 certification. “ Lauber said.

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Heart disease and cancer are the two leading causes of death in the United States.  People are often surprised to learn that as many as 400,000 people die each year, however, from preventable medical errors in hospitals. That makes medical mistakes in hospitals the third leading cause of death in this country.  Let's work together and SOLVE THIS!

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Our Chief Experience Officer, Bennett Lauber will be presenting "EHR Usability, The future of medicine is easy to use" at the 3rd Annual OSEHR Conference on Sept 5th at 10:30 am.

OSEHRA, an emerging leader in advancing open source electronic health record software and related health information technology, is bringing together the best and brightest from healthcare and other open source initiatives to share their expertise in three key areas: 
Promoting global collaboration for state of the art solutions
Expanding market opportunities in the US and abroad
Understanding open source operations in the government and private sector 

See for more info

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EHR vendors--Avoid "please don't air our dirty laundry" with formative usability testing  

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Design Thinking Is Critical For The Healthcare User Experience (UX) 

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Drummond's public comment on 2015 Edition EHR Certification Criterion - § 170.315(g)(3) (Safety-Enhanced Design)
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