Usability: Who Knows EHR Users Better? Government or Users?

There was a rip-roaring discussion about how to get to more usable EHRs on EMRandEHR this last week. Of course, I added my two cents. One of the questions that arose was who is more “mature” about EHR usability? The government or the market?

Here is my response:

I am familiar with government successes (and failures) in engineering complex systems, including the human factors component. I’ve an MS in Industrial Engineering and spent a year working in aviation human factors.

I’ve written extensively about what EHR workflow and usability design can learn from aviation, most of which would not be known without government initiatives.

EHR/EMR Workflow System Usability–Roots in Aviation Human Factors

What Kind of EHR Would Sully Design?

Government Best Practices in System Usability: Brief History & Status

As a graduate student I worked on numerous government and military-funded programs investigating a wide variety of user interface issues.

I was at the NIST EHR usability workshop held with respect to the document you mention.

And I’ll repeat what I said (quoting Clay Shirky, in an open letter to Jacob Nielsen) in my post on leveraging market-driven means to improve EHR usability:

“There is a dream dreamed by engineers and designers everywhere that they will someday be put in charge, and that their rigorous vision for the world will finally overcome the mediocrity around them once and for all. Resist this idea – the world does not work that way, and the dream of centralized control is only pleasant for the dreamer.”

Yes, I know, a bit pointed. But it’s an important point. Don’t underestimate or disregard the market. I am convinced it can fix many of the unfortunate problems with EHR usability and workflow.

Health IT User, Developer or Patient? Workflowista? I’m Giving Away A Bunch of Google Glass Invites!


That’s it! All gone. It was a lot of fun. And I especially like that I didn’t have to make any difficult decisions. Everyone with a good reason to get a Google Glass invite got an Google Glass invite. 12 in all!

12/19/13 3:30 EST

Three more Google Glass Invites just went out, for a total of nine invites distributed so far. I have three remaining invites — first come, first serve (as long as you are a patient, health IT developer, or clinician, of course!).

PS Do you have any unused Glass invites? Want to distribute them to the same sort of deserving folks as I’ve been sending invites on to? Feel free to forward that email from Google to c h u c k w e b s t e r m d at g m a i l c o m.


12/19/13 Update!

That’s a total of nine (9) Google Glass invites! But wait! What’s this… I’ve just been handed three more Glass invites to give away to patients, clinicians, and health IT developers (if you’re in mhealth, I’d jump on this!). We’re getting down to the wire and I’ve got 6 more invites to hand out! That is a total of 12 (twelve!) Google Glass invites going to improve healthcare workflows! The invites expire on the 23rd and I have to submit them in batches of three. I think I have two ready to go out. So one more and that’s that batch, leaving just three, I say three, remaining, highly-sought after, Google Glass invites.


———————-Original Blog Post——————-

I have 14 days (from yesterday, so until December 23rd), to give away the ultimate wearable mobile technology: three Google Glass invites.

Tweet, add a comment, or (if bashful!) use my contact form to tell me how you think you can use Glass to improve provider and/or patient healthcare workflow.

Depending on what comes in over the transom, over the next couple weeks I may update this blog post in response to related questions, tweets, news, etc.

When you drop me a line, please start “If I had Glass, I’d improve healthcare workflow by …”

Thank you! Cheers! Good luck! Exciting!


PS You may be interested in my HIMSS Future Care and Information Week columns:

Google Glass and the Future of Healthcare “Can (and will) Glass empower patients? Will third-party apps be there to help do so?”

Google Glass: Autocorrect For Your Life? “To offer the right assistance at the right moment, Google Glass will need workflow tech.”

The following Information Week column is not about Glass per se. It’s about problems with health IT workflow, some of which might be helped by Glass.

The Mismatch Between Healthcare Software, Healthcare People “The workflow built into healthcare software must make processes better and not worse.”






Plus here are some ideas that came in through my contact form:

“If I had Glass, I’d improve healthcare workflow by providing clinical decision support at the point of care – clinicians would be able to consult with experts in our crisis reponse teams through visual and audio advice, they would be able to divert further deterioration and coordinate care more effectively.”

“If I had the Google Glass, I’d use them to monitor physicians using EMRs in various settings such as CPOE, signing deficiencies etc to streamline the processes such as single sign-on, fewer clicks, more intuitive builds, better patient interaction/engagement etc.”