The myth of too many clicks

We have seen a number of recent blog posts and tweets complaining about EHRs having ‘too many clicks.’ (and a great video on youtube by ZDoggMD '30 clicks for an Ambien?')

A number of people have proclaimed that reducing the number of clicks in an EHR as a method to improve EHR Usability. Multiple clicks are not a deterrent to usability and user satisfaction, in fact there are many occasions where having more clicks may actually improve usability.

In our experience facilitating a large number of usability tests, people don't complain about having too many clicks. Making the click is automatic. The crux of the matter is that each click represents a decision point within a workflow. It isn't too many clicks, it is too many decisions!

“Vague, non-descript (click here, learn more), misleading or jargon-filled links cause people to hesitate, to question. Is this the right decision? This amplifies the click itself and it is what has created this myth of ‘too many clicks.’

Imagine taking a road trip to someplace you've never been and your directions don't quite match up with the road signs. Was that Exit 7 or Route 7? Main Street or Main Avenue? Your trip would feel much longer and you'd arrive much grumpier than if you made the same journey with clear directions. You'd say, "Wow, that didn't take as long as I thought," regardless of the turns in the road.” (Stephanie Lumas)

The difference is confidence. If someone is confident knowing what they will find, or what happens after they make a click, it is a non-decision. Don't worry about having multiple clicks on your EHR, but just make sure your users know, in advance, the effect of any clicking will have on their workflow.

"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 2014 and 2015 Edition ONC certification. “