"Around the turn of the century (that phrase still sounds odd to me, I keep thinking 1900, not 2000) I worked for a major Canadian systems integration company. One of the groups with whom I worked quite closely was the company’s usability team. I witnessed firsthand the power of incorporating usability into the software design process and the extent to which end-users willingly embraced the system produced using this approach.
While researching material for my book on digitizing the physician office, I have heard numerous complaints over the past few months about the usability (or, more specifically, the lack thereof) of many EMR systems currently on the market. Hence, I was intrigued to read a summary of a recent Technology for Doctors article (“How I learned to stop worrying and love my EMR,”) on FierceEMR. Although the Technology for Doctors article did not mention usability explicitly, the U.S. summary concluded: “So perhaps the lesson here isn’t that the U.S. health system is a mess – which it is – but that EMRs must be user-friendly and work the way doctors work.”
What is usability? According to a background paper produced by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) EHR Usability Task Force, usability is “the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specific users can achieve a specific set of tasks in a particular environment”.
Michael is eager to speak with physicians and medical office staff who have or are about to implement an electronic medical record system. Please contact him at email@example.com if you are able to provide feedback and to arrange an interview for a book that he is writing on digitizing a medical office.