How Government Can Improve EMR Usability

Jonathan Baran | | August 31, 2011

Government involvement in usability has been the talk recently.  In case your not aware, EMR usability is such as problem the government is exploring ways to get involved.  As you might imagine the topic is a very sticky subject, especially EMR vendors, as the topic conjures images of committee-centered design and EMRs being worse of then they already are now.

However, when you think objectively about it, I believe the government can be part of the solution, if done correctly.  I want to lay out my guidelines for government involved in Health IT usability.

Brief introduction to usability testing

Before getting into my recommendations a brief background in usability testing is required.  Usability testing can be roughly broken into three types: (1) heuristic evaluation, (2) expert user testing, and (3) novice user testing.  Although each of these are not explicitly “usability” testing, for the sake of simplicity I’m going to lump them together.