A Matrix-Based Method for Improving Electronic Medical Record User Interface Design and Usability

Seminar Date: 
Seminar Time: 
11am - 12pm
Seminar Location: 
5607 Baum Boulevard, Room 407A
Kushtrim Kuqi, CSM
Presenter's Institution: 
Multimodal Technologies, Inc.
Abstract:  Healthcare provider dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, and medication related errors are often directly associated with usability issues present in current Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems. EMRs are complex because of the variability of medical specialties, subspecialties and provider workflow. As the complexity of the system increases, so does the need to support a multitude of complex functions that often expose user interface design challenges. A tempting design solution is to present as much information as possible to the user, which results in densely populated screens. User errors and cognitive load are known to increase in proportion to density. In this study we examine a new approach of using the Design Structure Matrix (DSM) modeling technique to improve the design of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) user interfaces. The usability of an EMR medication dosage calculator used when placing orders in an academic hospital setting was inspected. The proposed method captures and analyzes the interactions between user interface elements of the EMR system and groups them based on information exchange, spatial adjacency, and similarity to improve screen density and time-on-task. Medication dose adjustment task time was recorded for existing and new designs using a cognitive simulation model that predicts user performance. We estimate that the design improvement could reduce time-on-task by saving an average of 21 hours of hospital physician time over the course of a month. The study suggests that the application of DSM can improve the usability of an EMR user interface.