A report has been released by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society EHR Association on the intersection between EHR usability and patient safety.
The report, entitled "Electronic Health Record Design Patterns for Patient Safety," incorporates input from human factors experts, clinicians, software designers, software engineers and other stakeholders who’ve experience deploying EHRs in healthcare agencies.
Here are top key EHR design considerations to make better the patient safety.
1. Medications. Medication should be showcased in accordance with FDA-approved drug names with "tall man letters;" drug name, strength and dosage form should be precisely spaced; and patient instructions should follow Universal Medication Schedule display.
2. Lab results. EHRs should obviously distinguish latest results from previous results; use a standard format for abnormal results; graphically showcase results over time; and provide a way to personalize how results are displayed.
3. Alert fatigue. Alerts should be differentiated by EHRs by low, medium and high severity; the severity of an alert should verify how intrusive it is in presentation; and EHRs should utilize a standard structure for all alerts.
4. Text display. When displaying texts, EHRs should target to remove truncated patient or medication names; utilize abbreviations sparingly and carefully; place labels adjacent to values consistently; and make the difference between "no value recorded" and "actually no value" clear to users.
5. Numeric display. EHRs should use a comma to separate groups of 3 digits when displaying numerals; display a "zero" before the decimal point of numbers in fractions; eradicate a "trailing zero" after a decimal point unless essential; and right-justify and decimal-align numbers in comparison columns.
To view the full report, please click here.