Project Details - Ended
- Contract Number:290-09-00023I-7
- Funding Mechanism:
- AHRQ Funded Amount:$376,101
- Principal Investigator:
- Project Dates:8/6/2010 to 2/8/2012
- Care Setting:
- Type of Care:
- Health Care Theme:
While health information technology (IT) systems are expected to significantly reduce medication errors, studies have found that issues with usability and information design can actually facilitate errors or decrease the efficiency gains made possible by health IT. While electronic health records (EHRs) might be an improvement over their paper predecessors, studies reveal that many of today’s systems scatter important data that clinicians need for a single patient encounter in many places.
This project set out to design, develop, test, and disseminate a toolkit by which health care organizations – specifically primary care practices – can assess the usability of EHR systems. Important audiences for the toolkit also include health IT vendors, certification organizations, and others. Development of the toolkit will increase attention to the importance of EHR usability and help promote design of systems that better support proper diagnosis, identification of high risk patients, tracking of patient health parameters over time, and population health management.
A background report was developed to identify and assess a range of usability methods, metrics, and instruments, and provide specific recommendations for which of these are most appropriate for inclusion into the toolkit.
The main objectives of this project were to:
- Develop and refine a toolkit for primary care clinicians that supports rapid yet meaningful usability evaluations of EHR systems.
- Disseminate the toolkit as a means to increase attention to the importance of EHR usability, to promote use evidence-based usability evaluation methods, and to stimulate collaboration among entities developing and implementing EHR systems.
- Inform EHR accreditation efforts around usability, including those by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).