Improving usability of Electronic Health Records in a UK Mental Health setting: a feasibility study
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Ruta Buivydaite, Gurpreet Reen, Tatjana Kovalevica, Harry Dodd, Ian Hicks, Charles Vincent & Daniel Maughan .Improving usability of Electronic Health Records in a UK Mental Health setting: a feasibility study.J Med Syst 46, 50 (2022).
Electronic Health Records (EHRs) can help clinicians to plan, document and deliver care for patients in healthcare services. When used consistently, EHRs can advance patient safety and quality, and reduce clinician’s workload. However, usability problems can make it difficult for clinicians to use EHRs effectively, which can negatively impact both healthcare professionals and patients. Objective To improve usability of EHRs within a mental health service in the UK. Methods This was a feasibility study conducted with two mental health teams. A mixed-methods approach was employed. Focus group discussions with clinicians identified existing usability problems in EHRs and changes were made to address these problems. Updated EHR assessment forms were evaluated by comparing the following measures pre and post changes: (1) usability testing to monitor time spent completing and duplicating patient information in EHRs, (2) clinician’s experience of using EHRs, and (3) proportion of completed EHR assessment forms. Results Usability testing with clinicians (n = 3) showed that the time taken to complete EHR assessment forms and time spent duplicating patient information decreased. Clinician’s experience of completing EHR assessment forms also significantly improved post changes compared to baseline (n = 71; p < 0.005). There was a significant increase in completion of most EHR forms by both teams after EHR usability improvements (all at p < 0.01). Conclusions Usability improvements to EHRs can reduce the time taken to complete forms, advance clinician’s experience and increase usage of EHRs. It is important to engage healthcare professionals in the usability improvement process of EHRs in mental health services.