A new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recommends usability become part of the certification test for electronic health records (EHRs) to ensure physicians find them both appealing and can operate them safely and effectively.
The report, titled Electronic Health Record Usability: Vendor Practices and Perspectives, was researched by James Bell Associates and the Altarum Institute, and focused on how vendors integrate usability into their products. The researchers interviewed companies including Cerner Corp., athenahealth, and the Veterans Health Administration.
The May 27 report states that usability, which implies both ease-of-use and designing for effective use, is one of the main factors which will determine the success of EHRs in the healthcare industry. AHRQ plans to award a follow-on project for the development, testing, and distribution of standards healthcare organizations can use to evaluate their own systems. AHRQ is working on this project with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Office of the National Coordinator.