New Federal Report Addresses EHR Usability

New Federal Report Addresses EHR UsabilityNovember 12, 2015 by Vickie Anenberg

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has issued a new report that addresses EHR system needs from the standpoint of “safety-enhanced usability and guidelines for standards.” Cross Country Staffing suggests that healthcare executives download a copy of this document for further study.  

According to the research team at NIST, “This document provides the empirical rationale for critical patient safety-related usability guidelines for standardization. As well as requirements for validation testing to ensure safety-enhanced design. These standardization guidelines are targeted at eliminating ‘never events’ and associated patient harm by proactively addressing and mitigating the root causes of use errors from EHR design and implementation elements, as characterized in our framework on the relationship between usability and patient safety.”

The NIST team used both inpatient and outpatient settings to draw their conclusions regarding EHR usability. They consider EHR system standardization to be of primary importance, stating, “Human factors guidelines for standardization, which were explicitly derived from the empirical evidence obtained through field data collection, are provided to improve the safety-related usability of EHRs.” The team described these areas as follows:

  1. Consistently display information critical to patient identification in a reserved area to avoid wrong patient errors,
  2. Provide cues to reduce the risk of entering information and writing orders in the wrong patient’s chart, and
  3. Support efficient and easy identification of inaccurate, outdated, or inappropriate items in lists of grouped information by having information presented clearly and in a well-organized manner.

In addition to the report itself, FierceEMR has posted an article that summarizes the NIST study, which provides links to two additional sources of related government research on this subject.

As hospitals continue their efforts to enhance current EHR systems or replace them with new technology, the shortage of qualified healthcare IT supplementary staff has become a challenge to completing such complex implementations. However, a workforce solution developed by Cross Country Staffing can help your facility to cost-effectively manage such challenges and complete your implementation in a timely manner. We invite you to talk with a Cross Country Staffing representative to learn more about this as well as all of our healthcare staffing solutions designed to meet your current and future professional staffing needs.