Aside from HIS design, it is the implementation and satisfaction of users make the system whole. The first thing is to assess the usability of a system. You need to measure the effectiveness of the system. This can be achieved through:
One major factor that determines the effectiveness of a HIS is its simplicity. It is important to have a system designed with a simple interface – as this reduces the chances of having physicians confused because of excessive amount of data displayed on the screen. A simple HIS is easy to understand and operate.
Another factor that helps one measure how functional a HIS can be is naturalness. According to HIMSS, natural HIS interfaces should contain “screen metaphors that are familiar to everyday life, or commonly expected computer experiences for the clinician.” Such interfaces are easy to learn and operate, thus limiting the task of undergoing EHR training. Clinical workflows in a natural EHR interface are specific to the needs of clinicians.
To reduce confusion and foster efficient workflow, there is a need for consistency in a HIS interface. All parts of the application are of the same look and feel. The data entries, as well as the terminologies are also positioned consistently. This helps providers to move effortlessly through diverse workflows.
Feedback and Forgiveness
Errors are inescapable during data entry and an efficient system should be designed with a forgiving application that can allow users to recover from errors. The system should have a feedback application that automatically notifies users about what is involved in an activity they are about performing or actions they have taken already; this helps to reduce the chances of a user taking an unplanned action. The system also tells users how long it will take to process a command, the outcome, and what to expect at any given time.
Effective Use of Language
The language used in a HIS also determines how effective clinicians can use words in practice. List and entries should be written in a simple, unambiguous language. HIS, with simple and clear language, is well-positioned to provide effective output.
Efficient interaction in a HIS helps reduce the number of steps required to complete a task. Efficient interaction in a system is one parameter that justifies its usability. Efficient interaction includes navigation options such as shortcuts to experienced users. This includes scrolling and switching between typing and clicking the mouse.
Effective Information Presentation
A HIS interface requires clear fonts and visually appealing elements to help users capture information easily. Fonts must be simple, clear, and visually appealing to meet users’ needs. High-value data or irregular values for clinical data are highlighted in certain ways that express meaning. A system may use green text or image to highlight high-value data and a red text to indicate that an element in the data is abnormal and requires urgent attention. All visuals should be clear enough to display information effectively.
Minimized Cognitive Load
Minimizing cognitive load in a HIS requires the data to be organized cohesively according to the task needing users to access several screens concurrently. HIS alert should be informative and accurate and should be used only in cases of high impact. This helps lessen HIS alert exhaustion, which poses a threat to patents safety.
To reduce cognitive load and prevent human error, a user-friendly system also does calculations for providers automatically. It can be challenging to find out if a HIS is packed with all these features. Healthcare organizations can set up industry research when finding ways to carry out all-inclusive HIS usability assessments.
Carrying out HIS Usability Assessments
Carrying out HIS usability assessment requires some key concepts to make the process successful. According to a 2018 report, Pew Charitable Trusts, AMA, and MedStar Health’s National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare pointed out several ways in which healthcare organizations can carry out HIS usability assessment correctly. They recommended that healthcare leadership considers all major tasks when planning to carry out a usability assessment.
In a bid to ensure that HIS usability assessments are representative of a healthcare organization’s end-users, Pew Charitable Trusts suggests that healthcare establishments consider the needs for its clinical workflows, environment, and any HIS integrated third-party technologies. According to Pew Charitable Trusts and its partners, to measure HIS functionality, there is a need to assess HIS usability regularly. They also recommended that healthcare organizations take note of the socio-technical environment.
These concepts will help healthcare organizations to effectively identify tangible goals and procedures for a significant HIS usability assessment. The recommended healthcare organization leadership should ensure that the test cases are re-producible and clear.