Healthcare providers can help improve electronic health record (EHR) usability and safety during aspects of design and development, implementation, and post-implementation processes—see the suggestions that follow.
For a comprehensive description of what you or your colleagues can do, view our team’s related report with The Pew Charitable Trusts: “Ways to Improve Electronic Health Record Safety: Rigorous Testing and Establishment of Voluntary Criteria can Protect Patients.”
Use test cases that simulate actual clinical cases. Test case scenarios provide a way to identify EHR usability and safety challenges before patients are harmed. PDF pages 24-54 of the Pew report mentioned above offer 14 different test cases based on safety report data.
Leverage the Leapfrog safety simulator. This simulator helps identify EHR usability and safety hazards and has been used by numerous hospitals. Learn more from this article and contact The Leapfrog Group.
Employ design guides to improve EHR displays. These briefs from UTHealth provide basic information on how to organize data tables and other components of the EHR display.
Use the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Change Package for Improving EHR Usability. This interactive PDF provides many useful resources.
Report usability and safety issues via “formal” channels. When you encounter an EHR usability and safety issue, be sure to formally report it through your safety event reporting system or your information technology team. This should also be reported directly to the ONC.
Other Important Activities
Participate in the American Medical Association’s (AMA) “EHR Connect” platform. EHR Connect brings together key stakeholders for enhanced collaboration around EHR development, usability, optimization, and interoperability for improved end-user experiences with EHRs. Join EHR Connect to share your voice, learn from others’ expertise and experiences, and access news, events, and resources on the topic.
Join the Partnership for Health IT Patient Safety. ECRI Institute has created this multi-stakeholder collaborative to discuss and make health information technology, including EHRs, safer.
Engage with your respective association. Your specialty association is likely thinking about EHR usability and safety and would benefit from your participation.