User Interface Problems of a Nationwide Inpatient Information System: A Heuristic Evaluation
23 July 2015
accepted: 30 February 2015
16 December 2017 (online)
While studies have shown that usability evaluation could uncover many design problems of health information systems, the usability of health information systems in developing countries using their native language is poorly studied. The objective of this study was to evaluate the usability of a nationwide inpatient information system used in many academic hospitals in Iran.
Material and Methods
Three trained usability evaluators independently evaluated the system using Nielsen’s 10 usability heuristics. The evaluators combined identified problems in a single list and independently rated the severity of the problems. We statistically compared the number and severity of problems identified by HIS experienced and non-experienced evaluators.
A total of 158 usability problems were identified. After removing duplications 99 unique problems were left. The highest mismatch with usability principles was related to “Consistency and standards” heuristic (25%) and the lowest related to “Flexibility and efficiency of use” (4%). The average severity of problems ranged from 2.4 (Major problem) to 3.3 (Catastrophe problem). The experienced evaluator with HIS identified significantly more problems and gave higher severities to problems (p<0.02).
Heuristic Evaluation identified a high number of usability problems in a widely used inpatient information system in many academic hospitals. These problems, if remain unsolved, may waste users’ and patients’ time, increase errors and finally threaten patient’s safety. Many of them can be fixed with simple redesign solutions such as using clear labels and better layouts. This study suggests conducting further studies to confirm the findings concerning effect of evaluator experience on the results of Heuristic Evaluation.
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