A comparative electronic health records (EHR) evaluation tool created by the American Medical Association (AMA) and MedStar Health's National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare shows little focus exists on how regulators and the industry conduct user-centered design and usability testing.
The EHR User-Centered Design Evaluation Framework evaluated usability in 20 common EHR products. The evaluations were conducted using information from EHR vendors. The information was rated using a 15-point scale developed by MedStar's Human Factors Center and the AMA that was below the standard set by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) for user-centered design (UCD) processes.
Under the ONC requirements, EHR vendors only need to report on a few UCD processes.
The AMA and MedStar Health said they believe "EHRs should be designed with the end-user in mind and that the ONC's requirements do not go far enough to encourage fully functional and usable products."
"Physician experiences documented by the AMA demonstrate that most EHR systems fail to support effective and efficient clinical work, and continued issues with usability are a key factor driving low satisfaction with many EHR products," Dr. Steven Stack, AMA president, said.
Raj Ratwani, scientific director of the Human Factors Center and a principle developer of the framework, stressed that the framework doesn't evaluate the actual usability of the EHR products experience by end-users, but instead evaluates conformity with best practices for user-centered design.
"The framework we developed is the first step in bringing greater transparency to the usability processes of EHR vendors," Ratwani said.
AMA, MedStar Health partner to drive improvements in EHR usability
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