2006 EHR WfMS Tutorial Slides 56-58: EMR EHR Usability Principles and Workflow: Conclusion

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From my Chapter 7: Natural Language Processing, Business Process Management, and Adaptive Case Management in Healthcare in How Knowledge Workers Get Things Done: Real-World Adaptive Case Management.

“I am a fan of five EHR workflow usability principles:

  • Naturalness—is there a natural fit between EHR workflow and task work-flow?
  • Consistency—do similar activities have similar workflows?
  • Relevance—does the EHR not show you too much data or too many options?
  • Support—can you see, at a glance, all pending tasks and related information?
  • Flexibility—can you fix unnatural, inconsistent, irrelevant, unsupportive workflow?

I’ll quote from my 2004 MedInfo short paper here….

‘EHR workflow management systems are more usable than EHRs without work-flow management capability. Consider these usability principles: naturalness, consistency, relevance, supportiveness, and flexibility. EHR WfMSs more natural-ly match the task structure of a physician’s office through execution of workflow definitions. They more consistently reinforce user expectations. Over time this leads to highly automated and interleaved team behavior. On a screen-by-screen basis, users encounter more relevant data and order entry options. An EHR WfMS tracks pending tasks–which patients are waiting where, how long, for what, and who is responsible–and this data can be used to support a continually up-dated shared mental model among users. Finally, to the degree to which an EHR WfMS is not natural, consistent, relevant, and supportive, the underlying flexibil-ity of the WfMS can be used to mold workflow system behavior until it becomes natural, consistent, relevant, and supportive.’

[By the way, I wrote the ghost-wrote the referenced 2003 Advance for Health Information Management Executives article]

Let’s deal with these five workflow usability principles one by one. In each case we’ll nod toward cognitive science, but not drive into weedy details.”

Obviously, since these slide conclude discussion of these five EHR workflow usability principles, we’ve already covered the above. Above is from the intro. But, as they say, (A) tell’em what you’re going to say, (B) say it, (C) then tell’em what you said. In this case, A = C!

wfms-usability-ehr-082

Principles to Increase Usability

  • Naturalness
  • Consistency
  • Relevance
  • Supportiveness
  • Flexibility

increase

  • Learnability
  • Throughput
  • Satisfaction
  • (Patient Safety)

wfms-usability-ehr-083

EHR Productivity
EHR Productivity equals value of information in an EHR divided by the cost to get that information into the EHR, where cost is combined time, effort, and money.

wfms-usability-ehr-084

EHR Usability vs Information Value
The old emphasis on the value of information is being redressed and balanced against EHR usability.

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Related links:

EHR/EMR Usability: Natural, Consistent, Relevant, Supportive, Flexible Workflow

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