Usability Evaluation

Also Known As
Usability Testing

Rodriguez NJ, Borges JA, Soler Y, et al. A usability study of physicians' interaction with PDA and laptop applications to access an electronic patient record system. In: Long R, Antani S, Lee DJ, Nutter B, Zhang M, editors. 17th IEEE symposium on computer-based medical systems: proceedings CBMS 2004; 2004; Quincy, Florida The Printing House; 2004. p. 153-60.

Marcy T, Kaplan B, Connolly S, et al. Developing a decision support system for tobacco use counselling using primary care physicians. Inform Prim Care 2008;16(2):101-9.

Walker J. Usability. In: Walker J, Bieber E, Richards F, editors. Implementing an electronic health record system. London: Springer; 2005. p. 47-59.

Post-Usability Evaluation Questionnaire (PDF, 470KB)


A usability evaluation is conducted to determine the extent to which a system is easy to use or "user friendly."


Prior to procuring a system to compare systems from which the purchaser has to choose.

After implementation of a system to identify necessary improvements.

During the design phase of the system to obtain user feedback and obtain design suggestions.

During the design phase to determine the system’s impact on workflow.

How do I use this tool?

1. Determine the goal and the specific objective of evaluation. What will be evaluated?

2. Identify individual(s) who will conduct the evaluation.

3. Identify target users and recruit participants.

4. Determine specific method(s) to use for capturing what you want to evaluate (e.g., heuristic evaluation; scenario-based evaluation; post-use survey or focus group) and how you will collect and record the results.

5. Evaluate results of evaluation and determine how to address findings (e.g., system redesign, training, workflow modification).

Expertise Required
Users of this tool usually have some training or experience in its use.

Can identify design and use issues and determine how to address them prior to implementation of a system.


Planning required may be extensive if objectives are too ambitious or not clearly defined.

Where can I go to learn more?

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Defining and testing EMR usability: principles and proposed methods of EMR usability evaluation and rating. 2009 [cited 2009 September 14]; Available from: (PDF, 644KB)

Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement. CPOE usability resources. 2010 [cited 2010 May 25]; Available from: