Summative Usability Evaluations of EHRs
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has released a set of new certification and meaningful use requirements for electronic health records (EHRs). These require that EHR vendors include evidence of user-centered design and user test results in their certification submission. To be able to obtain the ONC certification (and meaningful use funding) EHR vendors must follow a formal User Centered Design (UCD) process and perform summative usability testing on specific areas of the product.
User-Centered Design: Helping users become Effective, Efficient, and Satisfied
We recommend that EHR vendors follow the ISO 9241-11 standard. ISO-9241 Part 11: (1998) pertains to the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with Effectiveness (Task completion by users), Efficiency (Task on time) and Satisfaction (responded by user in term of experience) in a specified context of use (users, tasks, equipment & environments).
EHR developers can and should perform many iterations of user testing. These early iterations are often called Formative testing. We also recommend that an Expert (Heuristic) review be performed before any of the more formal usability testing. This is a cost-saving measure that can significantly reduce the number of iterations required and ultimately reduce the number of “items needed improvement” presented in the ONC submission. The submission that is ultimately provided for testing and certification may be the expression of a final iteration in which few areas for improvement would be identified.
Summative usability testing is an industry standard usability methodology (see http://bit.ly/13WYqTU ) During the testing a trained user experience professional works with the EHR vendor to create a series of representative tasks and then measures the amount of time it takes to complete the task (time on task), how many and what type of errors occur (error rates), and satisfaction with the task interaction (user satisfaction). The results —as measured by things like task times, assisted and un-assisted completion rates and standardized satisfaction scores --can be benchmarked against current industry standards.
How should the Results Presented?
Results from the summative study should be created and presented to the ONC using the Customized Common Industry Format (CCIF) Template for EHR Usability Testing (NISTIR 7742 see http://1.usa.gov/gAZFDt )These reports typically include an Executive Summary, an introduction, a method section, discussion of the results and any appendices .
The following are required for submission to the ONC:
• Name and version of the product
• Date and location of the test
• Test environment
• Description of the intended users
• Total number of participants
• Description of participants: their experience and demographic characteristics
• Description of the user tasks that were tested
• List of the specific metrics captured during the testing for effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction
• Data scoring
• Results of the test and data analysis
• Major test findings
• Identified area(s) of improvement(s)
For more information on the ONC Test Procedure for §170.314(g)(3) Safety-enhanced design see http://bit.ly/YLwrPO
Usability Starts with "U"
We can help you create summative and formative usability evaluations using the NISTIR 7742 Customized Common Industry Format Template for EHR Usability Testing.
Contact Us for more information about these and other User Experience services that we can provide to your health IT organization.
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