The path forward for making electronic health records more usable

Over the past decade both clinicians and researchers have increasingly discovered that electronic health records are not always user friendly and may result in unintended consequences that compromise patient safety. In a recently published paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and their collaborators suggest a five-point action plan to improve the usability and safety of health information technology moving forward.

“People expected information technology in healthcare to work similar wonders as elsewhere, such as on our phones, so expectations were naturally high when electronic health records were implemented nationally. But healthcare is much more complex, and usability and safety challenges have emerged,” said senior author Dr. Hardeep Singh, chief of the Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program at Houston VA’s Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety (IQuEst) and professor of medicine at Baylor.

Based on lessons from a decade of initiatives to attempt to solve usability challenges, researchers describe a five-point action plan for progress.

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