PROF. JULIA KRUMMEN
Nov. 10, 2013
Identifying Improved Methodology to Procure HIT Software Benefits Users
Researchers conducted a study conducted at The University of Utah
Healthcare system (comprising of 3 major hospitals) on the usability of their health information technology (HIT) software. Evaluators found 60 usability problems and
233 heuristic violations (Guo et al., 2011). Heuristic is defined by Oxford Dictionaries
(2013) as enabling a person to discover or learn something for themselves. Based on the research previously mentioned, users of the HIT software experienced difficulties both using the software and progressive learning its use. Users of HIT software are clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, and many other healthrelated personnel. When users have difficulty using HIT software the likeliness of a medical error is great.
Congruently, users become frustrated and dissatisfied with using the software. HIT software is a broad term incusing various types more specific software, including: electronic medical record (eMAR) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) for example. It is in the best interest of HIT users and the population at large that I composed this document identifying how improved methodology in the design and evaluation of HIT software benefit users in healthcare settings. Current Methodology of HIT software Design and Evaluation Process
Healthcare entities are purchasing HIT software using a “cookie cutter approach”. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act mandate directs all healthcare entities to implement the use of HIT. To satisfy the mandate HIT software is purchased by the appointed person or committee within a healthcare entity.
Software vendors typically have base model healthrelated software to which the vendor designs to meet the specifications of the healthcare entity. Finally, the HIT software is implemented into the healthcare system for use by healthcare personnel with no further support by the vendor. Software design flaws and usability problems are realized by its users after the implementation phase. The Oxford Dictionaries defines usability as having ability or fit to be used (2013). “Nurses represent the greatest numbers of eMAR users and are recognized as the last line of defense in preventing medication errors in acute care settings” (Guo et al., 2011). “Usability issues such as poorly designed user interfaces can impact nurses’ activities and result in poor outcomes” (Guo et al, 2011). If the healthcare entity conducted an evaluation of the software prior to implementation phase user operational difficulties and structure flaws would be reduced. Healthcare entities currently have no universal standard of evaluating HIT software either before or after its procured from vendors. “The Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) stressed the need for usability evaluations” (Guo et al., 2011).
Need for Effective Evaluation of HIT Software
Ineffective evaluation of HIT software can have a severe negative impact on the progress of clinical information technology (Heathfield et al., 2013). Negatively affected also are software users who routinely experience difficulties while using the software and face problems as a result of software inefficiency. “Research shows that satisfaction with information technology is more correlated with users’ perceptions about a system’s effects on productivity than its effect on quality of care” (Heathfield et al., 2013). Randomized controlled trials are the current method of evaluation of HIT software based on the notion that clinical information technology is comparable to a drug and should be evaluated as one (Heathfield et al., 2013). The uses for HIT software in clinical settings are vast. The software should be evaluated by its intended