An electronic health record interface is the part of the EHR that users interact with daily. Doctors view patients’ medical history, enter physician notes, and view lab test results on EHR interfaces.
A well-designed interface can improve clinician productivity, reduce burnout, and allow doctors to spend more time caring for their patients. On the other hand, a poorly designed EHR interface will make it difficult for users to retrieve, view, or enter health data.
Recently, a strong emphasis has been placed on creating more intuitive and clinician-friendly interfaces for EHR users. This article will examine some of the best practices for designing EHR/EMR interfaces.
1. Assess the Needs and Roles of Various Users
If each EHR user had the same tasks and performed them the same way, a one-size-fits-all EHR solution would work. However, this is not the case. Apart from doctors, other professionals like clinical assistants, pharmacists, and administrative staff interact with data in the EHR.
That’s why a careful assessment of all potential users and their needs is essential.
2. Evaluate Users’ Workflow
For an EHR solution to improve efficiency, it has to fit into the workflow of its users. One of the most significant challenges with EHR usability is a poor fit with established workflows.
When software vendors build interfaces, they make them generic for many users. However, each practice or organization will have a unique workflow. Matching a provider’s workflow requires a systematic study that will reveal the best interface design.
3. Target the Right Devices
In addition to creating interfaces that can match users’ workflow, EHR developers need to make the interface suit the target user’s device. In some cases, a responsive design that adapts to any screen size is sufficient.
However, some interfaces will be viewed more often on a particular device. For instance, if a receptionist always uses a tablet to enter basic appointment information for patients, it is better to target such a device from the onset.
Similarly, it is better to create a mobile app interface to allow doctors to enter clinical notes on their mobile devices rather than adapt a desktop interface to fit on a small smartphone screen.
4. Create Specialty-specific Interfaces
Building specialty-specific EHR interfaces improves EHR usability. Essentially, having a screen that displays the exact data that clinicians need to get the job done is a thousand times better than showing the same cluttered patient chart screens to every EHR user.
Utilizing the same general EHR screens for various care settings and medical specialties reduces efficiency. Instead, interfaces that allow physicians to access vital information, order tests, and enter notes with the least possible clicks should be adopted.
5. Allow Flexibility in Data Entry
EMR interfaces need to offer users the flexibility to improve usability. For example, they should have shortcuts and favorites for regular operations, provide search tips, and permit the reflow of interface elements.
Also, providing alternatives to typing can reduce the data entry burden on clinicians. Two good examples are handwriting and voice commands or speech-to-text data input.
6. Provide Adequate Help and Supporting Documentation
The user interfaces of EHRs need to have adequate instructions for new users. For experienced users, advanced search options and detailed documentation will enhance the user experience and boost efficiency.
Support may also be provided through chatbots to take the burden off internal IT support staff.
Building clean, user-specific interfaces for EHR can significantly impact operational efficiency and patient care. It is advisable to work with an experienced EHR interface developer who has analyzed operations and built interfaces to fit the users’ operations.
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Contact Lifepoint Informatics today at 877.522.8378 to develop custom EHR interfaces for your practice or organization. Book a free demo of our health IT solutions by visiting our contact page today.