Appl Clin Inform 2022; 13(05): 1040-1052
DOI: 10.1055/s-0042-1758222
Research Article

Improving the User Experience with Discount Site-Specific User Testing

Robert P. Pierce
1   University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia, Missouri, United States
,
Bernie R. Eskridge
1   University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia, Missouri, United States
,
Brandi Ross
2   Tiger Institute, Cerner Corporation, Columbia, Missouri, United States
,
Margaret A. Day
1   University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia, Missouri, United States
,
Brooke Dean
1   University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia, Missouri, United States
,
Jeffery L. Belden
1   University of Missouri Health Care, Columbia, Missouri, United States
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

Objectives Poor electronic health record (EHR) usability is associated with patient safety concerns, user dissatisfaction, and provider burnout. EHR certification requires vendors to perform user testing. However, there are no such requirements for site-specific implementations. Health care organizations customize EHR implementations, potentially introducing usability problems. Site-specific usability evaluations may help to identify these concerns, and “discount” usability methods afford health systems a means of doing so even without dedicated usability specialists. This report characterizes a site-specific discount user testing program launched at an academic medical center. We describe lessons learned and highlight three of the EHR features in detail to demonstrate the impact of testing on implementation decisions and on users.

Methods Thirteen new EHR features which had already undergone heuristic evaluation and iterative design were evaluated over the course of three user test events. Each event included five to six users. Participants used think aloud technique. Measures of user efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction were collected. Usability concerns were characterized by the type of usability heuristic violated and by correctability.

Results Usability concerns occurred at a rate of 2.5 per feature tested. Seventy percent of the usability concerns were deemed correctable prior to implementation. The first highlighted feature was moved to production despite low single ease question (SEQ) scores which may have predicted its subsequent withdrawal from production based on post implementation feedback. Another feature was rebuilt based on usability findings, and a new version was retested and moved to production. A third feature highlights an easily correctable usability concern identified in user testing. Quantitative usability metrics generally reinforced qualitative findings.

Conclusion Simplified user testing with a limited number of participants identifies correctable usability concerns, even after heuristic evaluation. Our discount usability approach to site-specific usability has a role in implementations and may improve the usability of the EHR for the end user.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

The project details were reviewed by the University of Missouri Institutional Review Board who determined the project to be a quality improvement activity and not human subject research and did not require additional review.


Supplementary Material



Publication History

Received: 25 May 2022

Accepted: 21 September 2022

Article published online:
02 November 2022

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