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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.

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.

Please don’t air our dirty laundry!

Before running the summative usability evaluation for §170.314(g)(3) Safety-enhanced design we recommend that EHR vendors begin working with a usability expert to identify possible usability issues before they are exposed as “dirty laundry” in a formal report.

Let Dr.s be Doctors?

Let's all remember that before Electronic Health Records (EHRs ) were prevalent, medical staff, pharmacists, and others had to struggle to decipher physician's orders, prescriptions and other hand-written (aka. scribbled) text. By using EHRs the burden of entering correct information into a form has fallen back on to the physician.

Still "Let doctors be doctors" they say.

EHRs typically do have a lot of "areas for improvement."

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