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EHR Vendors Not Adhering to Usability Certification Standards

Several widely used EHR products found not to adhere to ONC certification requirements

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Among electronic health record (EHR) products, there is a lack of adherence to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) standards, according to a research letter published in the Sept. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Raj M. Ratwani, Ph.D., from MedStar Health in Washington, D.C., and colleagues analyzed certified vendor reports meeting the 2014 certification requirements for the 50 EHR vendors with the highest number of providers attesting to meeting meaningful use requirements. For vendors with multiple certified EHR products, the authors included the product report with the most frequent provider attestations. They extracted the stated user-centered design (UCD) process and number and clinical background of usability test participants from each report.

The researchers found that 41 of the certified vendor reports were available for review. Of these, 34 percent had not met the ONC certification requirement of stating their UCD process, while 46 and 15 percent, had used an industry standard and an internationally developed UCD standard, respectively. The number of participants enrolled in usability tests varied; 63 percent used less than the standard (15 participants) and only 15 percent used 15 or more participants with clinical backgrounds.

“The lack of adherence to usability testing may be a major factor contributing to the poor usability experienced by clinicians,” the authors write.

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