There’s been a lot of progress at many levels in the last year on the usability front. They include regulatory (2014 edition of Meaningful Use certification), user Interface attention and innovations, emerging centrality of mobile and speech recognition, and whole new ways to break the fixed mental mindset around getting work done.
At HIMSS earlier this month, there were 26 highly instructive presentations on the topic of usability. Arguably the best was Dr. Jeff Belden’s outstanding presentation, “Medication List Makeover: Usable lists for the task at hand.” The take home points are here, and they complement my related discussion and take home points on workflow and analysis of Medication Reconciliation here.
The other standout wonderful presentation on usability during the past year was Dr. Ann Bisantz’s “Cognitive Engineering for Health IT,” presented at Johns Hopkins in June 2012. Click here to see the video.
One of the important distinctions that Dr. Bisantz calls out is the separate, but overlapping disciplines of:
1. Human Factors (broader term that encompasses humans as part of the system),
2. Cognitive Engineering (work demands on the individual humans), and
3. Usability (interface design, typically at task level).
I’ve written extensively on the cognitive dimensions in HCIT in my Blind Spots blog series in which I present predictable biases and errors that have been well studied and have distinct safety, quality and cost implications. You can read each installment by visiting this page and clicking your choices.