Usability and healthcare: a reality check on the usability and safety of our systems
The usability and safety of health information systems is of critical importance and has become a major issue worldwide. With the proliferation of a wide range of healthcare information systems and technologies, ranging from electronic health record systems to mobile health apps, there are also increasing reports of user dissatisfaction with many of these technologies. Indeed, lack of usability has been implicated in a growing number of these reports. In this presentation I will address the issue of whether this is a problem, to what extent usability issues are being reported worldwide and work towards possible solutions that could be applied at multiple levels and globally. A range of low-cost and easy to apply methods have been developed from application of human factors and usability engineering and can be applied across the systems development life cycle, from system procurement, to design and implementation. However, the application of these methods has not been universal and vendor, governmental, regulatory and educational barriers exist to their widespread use. In addition, usability issues have been linked to safety issues and will be considered in this presentation, highlighting the critical importance of ensuring usability not only for user satisfaction but also for patient safety.