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Four takeaways from EHRA’s health IT usability summit

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On June 21, the Electronic Health Records Association held its second annual Shaping Usability of Health IT Summit.

The event brought together more than 70 individuals, including physicians, EHR developers and even ONC Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health Technology Reform John Fleming.

Mandy Long, chair of the EHRA Clinician Experience Workgroup and vice president of corporate operations at Modernizing Medicine, co-hosted the summit.

In a recent phone interview, Long outlined a few key highlights of the event.

Design Patterns for Safety
One of the main purposes of the summit was for EHRA to unveil Design Patterns for Safety, an undertaking launched as a result of the association’s first usability event in December 2015.

Personas Project
EHRA also launched its Personas Project at the summit.

Attendees assisted in creating a repository of industry personas, or representations of core user groups. Each persona included the group’s goals, needs and interests. After hours of work, the attendees came up with drafts of 10 EHR user personas, such primary care physician, IT technician and patient.

All total, EHRA collected more than 50 pages of notes for the project, Long said.

“That type of data is incredibly difficult to collect,” she said. “It can function as a great starting point to help level set a lot of conversations happening around usability. We need to know who we’re servicing.”

The repository of notes gathered at the summit will be a reference for future drafts of Design Patterns for Safety.

Keynote speaker Kath Straub
Kath Straub, principal at, keynoted the event. She has recently been working with Johns Hopkins to examine how usability is integrated into the health ecosystem, Long pointed out.

“Kath is a really extraordinary woman,” Long said. “She has spent her career focusing on usability and factors in all forms.”

Straub stressed the need for stakeholders to reassess who they’re solving usability issue for. Her message, Long said, boiled down to this: “You’re not designing software for yourself, and as soon as you think you are, you’re probably wrong.”

Upcoming goals
“We’ve gotten great responses coming out of the event,” Long said.

But there’s more work to do.

EHRA plans on sharing the raw data it compiled at the summit. Additionally, the association will start to publish drafts of the personas and set up a spot where others can submit more ideas for personas.

Moreover, EHRA looks forward to furthering its mission and finding ways to work with other organizations focused on the same ideas.

Source: MedCity News
By: Erin Dietsche on in News