EMRs and Usability: How Can You Decide What's Best for Your Practice?

Google may be looking for alternatives to Microsoft and selecting the right EMR requires more than just a checklist of functions.

Microsoft is publicly paying for its security issues again, with a report that Google is making a concerted effort to move away from MS operating systems. The article suggests that this development is related to the recent hacking of Google’s Chinese operations. Depending on how successful Google is at pulling this off, other organizations may follow suit.

This week, Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, of The Health Care Blog pointed out one of the drawbacks of EMR adoption in private practice — a tendency of staff to focus attention on the computer instead of the patient. Have your interactions with patients changed since introducing a computer in your examination room? If so, I’d like to hear your experience, good or bad. I’d also like to hear how your particular system plays into the experience, as not all EMRs are created equal.

Following that thought, Evan Steele covered usability as a key sticking point in EMR adoption in a May 26 post on the EMR Straight Talk blog, giving some good tips on how to review systems beyond a “checklist of features.” If you’re interested in learning more about usability, there’s a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) conference coming up that might benefit the folks in your organization charged with determining the requirements of your EMR system. I haven’t been to an NIST conference before, but this one offers several roundtable discussions, which can be beneficial depending on the experience level of the IT professionals in attendance. You can register online for the conference up to July 6, 2010.

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