The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has just released a report on vendor practices regarding electronic health record (EHR) usability. Usability involves the ease of use and effectiveness of a product. The AHRQ notes that usability does not receive the same attention as software features and technical standards. Recent research found that little evidence has been collected on EHR usability in practice.
The report, “Electronic Health Record Usability: Vendor Practices and Perspectives,” focuses on the importance of usability in product development. The agency brought together experts in the field to understand the vendor perspectives and to provide recommendations.
The report uses information garnered from interviews with small, medium and large vendors. The report presents several challenges including the fact that usability is a key competitive factor with vendors. Therefore, collaboration between vendors on usability is “almost nonexistent.” In addition, vendors collect but tend not to share reported usability-related incidents (“bugs”) and product-enhancement requests. No procedure exists to standardize classification and reporting of EHR usability issues. Vendors also disagree as to best methods in ensuring usability standards. However, vendors are interested in an independent body that could develop standards for EHR usability. [Read more…]