Usability in Healthcare - Current Understandings and Measurement

June 2, 2016
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members
Vimla L. Patel, PhD, DSc., FRSC, FACMI; Andre Kushniruk, PhD, FACMI

Statement of Purpose

The usability of health information technology has become a major issue in the United States and worldwide. Despite the proliferation of a range of information systems, there are continued reports of systems that have failed to be effectively adopted by end users and a lack of usability has been implicated in many of these cases.  There is a wide range of sound methodology that can be applied to improving usability of systems. However, these methods have not routinely been applied to improve and customize systems for use in hospitals and other healthcare settings. In addition, the approaches build upon strong theoretical frameworks that appear not to be widely understood in the vendor community and, accordingly, are not explicitly considered or applied in the design or implementation of systems by the healthcare IT industry.

In this webinar the focus will be on describing our current understanding and measurement of usability in healthcare. The webinar will first describe the need for a strong theoretical foundation based upon academic research that should be considered in the analysis and measurement of usability, guided by what people do in the clinical world (their workflow) and how healthcare information technology can best support their cognitive and work activities. The webinar will then describe how this work has been translated into practice in some settings, with a focus on the need for collecting empirical evidence about the usability of healthcare IT in realistic as well as actual contexts of use. Approaches will be described that have emerged directly from consideration of cognitive models and consideration of the approaches throughout the systems development life cycle (SDLC).  The webinar will emphasize the importance of providing impactful and meaningful guidance to assist with system selection, design, and customization in order to improve usability through a layered and systematic approach. In addition, we will show how methods can be applied in a flexible and rapid way in order to become an integral component of system development and deployment. Challenges to improving usability of healthcare IT will also be discussed. This webinar should be of interest to all who wish to improve their understanding of selecting, designing, and deploying health information technology that is usable and adaptable in supporting healthcare practice and empirical research.

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the learner will be better prepared to do the following:

  • Acquire knowledge about the frameworks and theory for considering usability
  • Explain methodological issues involved in employing usability engineering methods in practical healthcare settings
  • Distinguish between current low-cost rapid approaches and their application for improving system usability and the long term usability studies needed to gather empirical evidence
  • Participate in discussion of current challenges in improving healthcare IT usability

Speaker Information

Vimla L. Patel, PhD, DSc. FRSC, FACMI - Director and Senior Research Scientist, The New York Academy of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

André Kushniruk, PhD, FACMI - Professor and Director, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

Vimla L. Patel is Director and Senior Research Scientist, Center for Cognitive Studies in Medicine and Public Health, at the New York Academy of Medicine, and Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Arizona State University. She also has adjunct professorial appointments at Columbia University and Weill Cornell Medical College.  As Professor of Medicine and the director of Cognitive Science Center at McGill University in Montreal, her early research focused on scientific foundations for medical and health education, particularly in cognitive foundations of medical decision-making. She expanded her research activities with a focus on the impact of technology on human thinking and reasoning.  An elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American College of Medical Informatics, and the New York Academy of Medicine, she received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Victoria in Canada. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Biomedical Informatics. With awards from NIH, NIMH, Science Foundation Arizona, AHRQ, and private foundations, Dr. Patel has forged a closer tie between cognitive psychological principles, human computer interaction, and patient safety in the complex healthcare workplace.

Dr. André Kushniruk is a Professor in Health Informatics and Director of the School of Health Information Science at the University of Victoria in Canada. He is also a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics. Dr. Kushniruk conducts research in a number of areas including usability engineering, electronic health records, and evaluation of the effects of information technology, human-computer interaction in healthcare and other domains as well as cognitive science. His work is known internationally and he has published widely in the area of usability in health informatics, advising on a variety of national and international committees and projects. This work has been applied in the evaluation of a wide range of technologies designed for both healthcare providers and patients. Dr. Kushniruk has held academic positions at a number of Canadian universities and worked with a number of major hospitals and healthcare organizations in Canada, the United States, and internationally. He holds undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Biology, an MSc in Computer Science from McMaster University, and a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from McGill University.