Thought Leadership

Seven plus or minus 2 things the Health IT Industry should know about Cognitive Psychology

The capacity of the human brain to process information has remained not changed—even as the number of types of users for software-based Internet connected devices has increased at an exponential rate. The field of psychology, especially cognitive psychology has, among other things, focused on understanding the processes by which we store information, make decisions, and communicate with others.

Gamification of Patient Portals -- a method for Increasing Engagement

One of the great things about living near a “destination city” such as Washington DC is that friends and relatives often come to visit.

My niece also recently just turned 21, and was celebrating her birthday. One thing that they both wanted to do was to go to a casino. Luckily about an hour or so north was Arundel Mills, an outlet shopping destination and (non-smoking) casino.

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.

Usability, Accessibility and Telehealth need to be BFFs

A while ago there were two healthcare conferences that we attended here in Washington DC on the same day. One was the American Telehealth Association’s Fall forum and the other was The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR)’s Accessibility and Usability in Health Information Technology (HIT)

The best error message is one that you don't have to show!

Avoid errors by providing embedded assistance on more complex controls.

Deep within many of the systems we evaluated lies a complex, and sometimes non-standard UI control feature that is critical to performing an important task.

In the ONC 2014 Edition Summative tests, this control was usually related to the “Clinical information reconciliation task.” The control was usually some type of “Shuttle” widget where the user selects multiple items from one or more lists and places them into a single reconciled list (of Problems, Allergies, and Medications)

Let's sort this out!

A common usability problem that we've seen in many of the EHRs that we've evaluated is that default sort settings are the same for every list

Most of these systems seemed to have an ascending alphabetical sort (Things are sorted from A to Z) for all or most of the lists of items that are provided.

Developers often tell us that they set the sort order the same in each list so that their is a consistancy across the application.

Violent video games, Explicit lyrics and the Usability of Health IT

Back in the 1980s Tipper Gore. Susan Baker, and several others created the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC) with the intent of increasing parental control over the access of children to music deemed to have violent, drug-related or sexual themes. They used their influence as “Washington Wifes” to push for regulation of the music industry. By 1985, 19 record companies agreed to put "Parental Guidance: Explicit Lyrics" labels on albums to warn consumers of explicit lyrical content.

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