10 Mar Frustrations linger around electronic health records and user-centered design
Experts say healthcare providers need to turn up the pressure on tech vendors to create more intuitive products.
Electronic health record usability might not have been the hottest topic at HIMSS16 this past week – our polling shows big data and interoperability tied for that honor, with privacy/security just nudging population health for the second spot – but it was certainly top of mind for many.
The multi-day User Experience Forum, for instance, explored the human factor and design choices that can directly impact the use and efficacy of health information technology, examining UX from the perspective of physicians, nurses, patients, vendors and more. Sessions gave voice to end-user frustrations, looked to tear down the barriers to innovation and tracked the clinical and financial return that can be gained from improved software interfaces.
In a provocative prime-time speech, meanwhile, Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt threw down the gauntlet: “I’m certainly not bashful about what we need to do better, and I’m not going to be bashful here, even in the face of some very good reasons for optimism, about ways we need to take our game up across the board.”
The health IT industry has done very well in the years since the HITECH Act, said Slavitt. “But we’re still at the stage where technology often hurts rather than helps physicians providing better care.”
To bolster his case, he rattled off a series of actual quotes from frustrated clinicians. One complained that in his EHR, “to order aspirin takes eight clicks; to order full-strength aspirin takes 16.”
Slavitt said CMS is newly committed to taking a “user-centered approach to designing policy.” He asked vendors to do the same, with a similar spirit of empathy: “Step back and look at what you don’t think is working, and make it better.”