Becoming more user-centric in health IT

Making user-centric decisions means considering challenges from myriad vantage points and, for those of us in the health IT sector, this means creating processes and implementing technology the way clinicians and care teams need them to be.
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By now, we are accustomed to constantly changing health IT policies.  Although we know to expect the unexpected, what has become increasingly difficult is the ability to quell the frustration levels and anxiety that accompany these anticipated changes, because with uncertainty comes reticence, particularly when finding buy-in and budgets to implement the technology that will best support teams through these delays and beyond.

Amidst this ambiguity, applying user-experience principles to health IT investments can help serve as a North Star.  Making user-centric decisions means considering challenges from myriad vantage points and, for those of us in the health IT sector, this means creating processes and implementing technology the way clinicians and care teams need them to be.

With so much on the line, efficiency and usability are key, and following these guidelines will help keep people, processes, and technology aligned.

  1. Know your user: Selecting strategies, such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), that accommodate clinicians and care teams’ busy schedules enables them to conveniently enter clinical notes and follow up action items wherever they are (A3: Anytime, Anyplace, Anywhere) whether it’s desktop, smartphone, or tablet.
  2. Put users in control: Creating clinical tiger teams that represent the end-user group, (inpatient/outpatient physicians, specialists, nurses, etc.) to identify what technologies will work best based on workflows and input preferences.  Vetting the right technology for the right job will mitigate the risk of low adoption and wasted financial investments.
  3. Provide feedback: Allowing your users to make recommendations and suggestions for improvement, including developing in-house solutions, will help to make modifications that increase satisfaction and drive user adoption.   

Changing regulations have created a hall of mirrors for healthcare administrative teams, where it seems every turn reveals more of the same.  It is possible to break out, develop and execute against strategic plans that addresses both your users’ needs as well as your organizational ones.

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Dr. Nick van Terheyden

About Dr. Nick van Terheyden

Nick is Chief Medical Information Officer for Nuance where he focuses on improving the usability of health technology for both providers and patients. As a pioneering creator in the evolution of healthcare technology, he brings a distinctive blend of medical practitioner and business strategist to the realm of health IT. After several years as a medical practitioner in London and Australia, he joined an international who's who in healthcare, academia and business, in the development of the first electronic medical record in the early 1990's and later, as a business leader in one of the first speech recognition Internet companies. Nick attended the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, at the University of London. He is a certified football (soccer) coach and referee as well as a purveyor of fine Scottish Malt whisky.