Health Tech Trends, Secondary Care

Research paper explores usability of electronic health record systems in emergency departments

A paper has been published in BMJ Journals following a large scale survey into the usability of electronic health record systems in emergency departments.

The paper was published last week by Dr Benjamin Bloom, Royal London Hospital, Dr Jason Pott, Royal London Hospital, Dr Stephen Thomas, Queen Mary University of London, Dr David Ramon Gaunt, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, and Dr Thomas Hughes, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

The research aimed to understand the usability of electronic health record (EHR) systems and surveyed members and fellows of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine during summer 2019.

Following 1663 responses from a total population of 8794 members and fellows, the sample represented 192 healthcare organisations and 25 EHR systems; with a minimum of 20 responses on each EHR required for analysis.

The researchers used a ‘System Usability Scale Score’, which ranges from 0 (worst) to 100 (best). Scores were compared with an internationally recognised measure of acceptable usability of 68. The medium usability scored received was 53, the researchers noted, with a range of 65–35.

Analysis into the responses suggested that usability is associated with healthcare organisations and not solely attributable to different EHR systems; there was an association between usability and individual NHS trusts or health boards.

The researchers said: “We found variation in both usability and functionality within individual EHRs across healthcare organisations, but were unable to ascertain the reasons for the differences within the design of this study.

“Further research should be undertaken with users to understand in greater detail why some sites’ usability and functionality is poor compared with others with the same EHR, and to understand what characteristics of an EHR system make it most usable.”

To read the paper, please click here.