Usability Begins with You

This phrase has been on our email signature for more than 20 years. Usability does start with you.

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.

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:

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.

Usability is the most important "ility."

The lack of usability of electronic health records (EHRs) and healthcare IT applications, in general, has been in the news again. A research report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) analyzed voluntary error reports associated with EHR systems and found that problems with EHR usability may have directly resulted in patient harm (Howe JL ; Adams KT ; Hettinger AZ; et al. Electronic health record usability issues and potential contribution to patient harm. JAMA. 2018; 319: 1276-1278).

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