apps

User-Centered Design (aka. Design Thinking) for Healthcare IT Usability Improvement

The usability (or lack thereof) of Healthcare IT has been in the news a lot again.

This time a research report published in JAMA (Howe JL ; Adams KT ; Hettinger AZ; et al. Electronic health record usability issues and potential contribution to patient harm. JAMA. 2018; 319: 1276-1278) researchers analyzed voluntary error reports associated with Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems and found that problems with EHR usability may have directly resulted in patient harm.

The top 5 EHR usability problems and how to fix them!

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,” “5 UX steps to Healthy Clinical apps,” “Nurse: We face severe IT usability problems,” and “The leading health IT issues? Poor usability and missing safeguards”) 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. 

 

Alfred Hitchcock (The Beatles and Pink Floyd) and the future of Health IT

In the classic Alfred Hitchcock film “Rope,” Hitchcock shot continuous scenes for periods lasting up to 10 minutes (the length of the film camera magazine), continuously panning from actor to actor. Every other segment ended by panning against or tracking into an object—such as a man's jacket blocking the entire screen, or the back of a piece of furniture.

In doing this, Hitchcock effectively masked half the cuts in the film.

Hick’s and Fitt’s laws: Two important psychological principles to consider when designing navigational menu structures

Most web-based or mobile applications are organized in some type of hierarchical menu structure. Company information is usually located in an ‘about us’ tab, Products and Services each have a tab, etc.

Some company websites, for example, provide a menu structure that is initially simple, but then may require several more interactions to navigate down the tree to the target information.

See for example Verizon.com:

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