EHR Vendors Focusing On Usability

Mary Mosquera | Government Health IT | February 12, 2013

Electronic health records (EHRs) have to be usable and useful by physicians and integrate with hospitals’ or practices’ other systems to benefit providers or else the money spent on them is just wasted. Before EHRs were widely adopted, there wasn’t a demand for usability, according to David Blumenthal, MD, former national health IT coordinator and current president and CEO of The Commonwealth Fund.

“There was no reason for vendors to focus on it because there weren’t enough sales or selectivity on the part of purchasers,” he said at the AcademyHealth-sponsored National Health Policy Conference last week. But times have changed. Certification of EHRs for meaningful use and the natural course of disruptive technologies will breed more usable EHRs and other health IT tools for physicians. Changes are already on the way.

Usability often focuses on patient safety issues of the system and adequate training of the physician, said experts speaking at the Feb. 4 gathering, but usability needs to go beyond that...