In our VitalBlog we frequently share our thoughts and opinions on healthcare-related topics.

Click Fatigue: A New Diagnosis for Health Care Providers

Dr. Lester Wold wrote this on Tuesday, July 22, 2014

les-blogHealth care providers are not immune from illness.  Perhaps the most common symptom that providers have is fatigue.  Being tired can be the result of long hours but increasingly providers are experiencing “click fatigue.”  Click fatigue is directly correlated to the number of clicks of the mouse that the provider must make in order to use their EMR and related solutions.  Studies have indicated that usability (defined as the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specific users can achieve a specific set of tasks in a particular environment) is critical to the adoption of information technology and eHealth solutions.  I have recently had conversations with numerous providers who bemoan the perceived negative impact of the information infrastructure they are “forced” to use.  Comments such as “I didn’t go to medical school to become a transcriptionist” are relatively common.  If providers feel this way can patients, who we expect to increasingly use this same infrastructure to provide information, be expected to feel differently?  What can we do to provide more usable eHealth solutions?

The development of Meaningful Use criteria has not resulted in more usable eHealth solutions to this point in time.  But in general there appears to be movement in a positive direction.  The implementation of patient portals will force vendors who have not already focused upon usability to do so.

One of the most common concerns expressed by providers regarding the usability of eHealth solutions is the inefficient nature of data input related to the use of many solutions/systems.  Vendors are well advised to thoughtfully listen to and address these concerns.  VitalHealth Software has tried to address provider concerns and needs in a number of ways.  The focus upon cloud-based solutions means that both providers and patients should have easy and efficient access to the eHealth solutions.  The ability to utilize a flexible configurable VitalHealth Platform means that customers will increasingly be able to easily configure a solution to best meet their practice needs.  In addition, built-in support for the configuration and development of subspecialty specific EHR solutions ensures that the IT infrastructure supporting the practice takes into account the subspecialty practice flow.  These features will become increasingly important as the demands to meet both practice and regulatory environment change.  Based on feedback from end-users of our Optometry EHR (marketed by our partner VisionWeb), we know from experience that such features will also help to minimize provider click fatigue. In one specific example, we configured an intelligent UI design for a refraction exam to reduce the number of clicks by 27 compared to existing solutions. 

Click fatigue is a serious barrier to effective use of an EHR. As a Health IT software provider, it is our responsibility to prevent this diagnosis from happening!

Dr. Lester Wold
CMO VitalHealth Software

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