The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has updated its proposed procedures for evaluating the usability of electronic health records, saying the three-step protocol "encourages a user-centered approach" to EHR development.
"This guidance can be a useful tool for EHR developers to demonstrate that their systems don't lead to use errors or user errors," says NIST researcher Matt Quinn. "It will provide a way for developers and evaluators to objectively assess how easy their EHR systems are to learn and operate, while maximizing efficiency."
The updated EHR Usability Evaluation Protocol was revised to incorporate public comment received since the draft was released in September. The 112-page document proposes general steps and guidance for evaluating whether an EHR user interface contains, collects and displays the information needed by clinicians, and whether users can easily understand and search for the information.
Representative user groups would then perform realistic tasks to test the interface's usability, according to a NIST news release.
The protocol, called "Technical Evaluation, Testing and Validation of the Usability of Electronic Health Records," can be viewed at the NIST website.
A one-page fact sheet on the protocol, numbered NIST Interagency Report 7804, also is available.