You might notice that the interface for the EMR applications in your healthcare workplace is decidedly dated. In healthcare, the priorities and time cycles move at a more restrained pace than the tech world as a whole. So even as the rate of change accelerates, many of the most well capitalized healthcare companies that have abundant resources still have dated interfaces.
The critical roles played by EMRs and EHRs mean that you cannot risk making changes just for the sake of ergonomics, only to discover that it disrupts user workflow for dozens or even hundreds of doctors and nurses. Interruptions have consequences that could degrade the quality of care for critically and chronically ill patients.
Legacy Systems Still Rule In Healthcare Applications
In all likelihood, your organization has an EMR system that is between six and ten years old, possibly even older. The users are not interested in having the most up-to-date system; they want what is familiar and what works because they focus on delivering healthcare and not the latest trend in technology. Your users would rather not be bothered with new systems; they just want to continue to use what they have. However, it is precisely these new systems that will increase efficiency and reduce cost, if you can implement them without massive disruption.
The need for buy-in and smooth delivery of the new technology complicates the transformation process in the workplace in even the most commoditized industries; healthcare takes this burden to another level entirely. Any delays or interruptions rapidly lead to users losing faith, which then usually results in workarounds and such unsanctioned remedies undermine change, which reflects in the notoriously low rate of success in transformation initiatives worldwide.
Managing Change And Leading People In Healthcare IT
Information systems for the medical profession and healthcare industry have a difficult task to fulfill because of the numbers of stakeholders, technical issues, and legalities involved. Implementation requires input from healthcare staff, organizational management and executive staff, compliance officers, government, and the attorneys on staff.
The practitioners who will be using your system will insist on having a considerable level of input into the UI design of your new system; they probably had this level of contribution to the previous system, and rightly so in both cases. After all, it is they who will be demanding the highest quality of information from the system, and they have spent years mastering the incumbent IT systems.
Design And Function Must Reflect HIPAA Compliance
Applications in healthcare have demanding standards because of the risks and responsibilities concerned. This higher standard extends to the demands of legislation such as the patient privacy and information security mandates under HIPAA, which formulates compliance oversight and how you must address any breaches that come to light.
The use of EMR and EHR has proliferated since the inception of HIPAA in the late 1990s. Unfortunately, with the complexity of the technology and the need to go with what was available at the time, many hospitals and healthcare providers find themselves saddled with outdated systems that have become entrenched and resistant to change.
Change and transformation in healthcare UI/UX are demanding investments for your organization. Arguably, the best approach is to start early and be ready to fail early and often but on a small scale each time. A gradual improvement of the system interface along with input from the users before and during implementation and training and feedback afterward; inclusiveness is crucial to successful implementation of better UI/UX for working EMR and EHR applications.
Featured image: videomedicine.com