Although innovations in e-health have the potential to dramatically improve and streamline healthcare, there are a number of critical problems and issues related to their successful implementation and acceptance. It is essential that the healthcare systems we develop are usable, meet user information needs and are safe, as usability is a measure of how effective, efficient, and enjoyable a system is. To ensure system usability, varieties of methods have emerged from the area of usability engineering and have been adapted to healthcare. The authors have been applying methods of usability engineering, working with hospitals and companies to develop more usable healthcare information systems for over 15 years. Based on our current work at the University of Victoria, we describe how to set up a low-cost portable laboratory that can rapidly evaluate the usability and safety of healthcare information systems both in artificial mocked-up settings and in real clinical contexts (e.g., in hospital wards).
Low-cost rapid usability engineering: designing and customizing usable healthcare information systems