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EMRs Put to the Test on Usability

User Centric Announces Syndicated Research for Usability Evaluation of HIT Providers

CHICAGO, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the growing need for understanding the usability of Electronic Health Records (EHRs), User Centric ( launches the first syndicated user performance research designed to provide end-users with real data on the usability of EHR applications.

One of the key limiting factors to adoption now is usability. Up to now the focus for comparing EHRs has been on functionality, and CCHIT's expansive list of nearly 500 functions. Many of these functions do not apply to many practices or specialties. CCHIT evaluations make no comment on how "usable" these functions are across vendors. Neither CCHIT nor the governmental bodies has taken the lead on ensuring that the applications are usable by providers in the busy practice of medicine.

"This is the opportunity for those vendors who claim to be 'user friendly' or 'easy to use' to independently verify that claim against other vendors," says Gavin Lew, Founder and Managing Director. "User Centric's long history of expertise in user research and user interface analysis and design, position us strongly to measure and improve the customer experience with EHRs and EMRs."

There are many examples from industries outside of healthcare where functionally equivalent, mission-critical applications are reliably measured and compared.

User Centric is a global leader in large-scale user research studies, having conducted more than 500 engagements with more than 10,000 hours of face-to-face testing, and is thus well positioned to develop standards and measures of user performance in health IT, and specifically in EMR/EHR.

"User Centric is uniquely positioned to provide this service as we are experts in human performance, and experts in user interface design," says Dr. Robert Schumacher, Managing Director. "For the first time health care purchasers will get to the heart of 'meaningful use' - objective, independent data based on actual use. Our research will not be based on a surveys or checklists. It is real performance measurement gathered from practicing clinicians using realistic data. Combined with CCHIT and KLAS data, health-care purchasers can have a complete picture of function, opinion, and now usability of applications."

User Centric's syndicated research offering consists of employing state-of-the-art user research methods to measure efficiency, effectiveness, and satisfaction. Clinical users, representative of the market, will perform tasks based on use cases drawn from ONCHIT. Criterion-based measures of learnability and usability will be collected.

Usability is highly correlated with adoption. Applications that are more usable stand a higher chance of success in the marketplace.

The service is fee-based to offset costs, and all subscribing vendors will receive an extensive report on the user performance of their application. In our initial offering, the first ten subscribing vendors will receive the report, and a readout as well as expert advice on how to improve the customer experience with user interface. Health Care Organizations can have access to the report in late 2nd quarter.

The research will be run regularly and be made available to consultants and providers. Set for delivery before ONCHIT provides guidance in the Fall of 2009, solutions providers can opt in to the study before May 15, 2009.

To find out how to have your EMR part of the study and costs involved, contact Gavin Lew or Robert Schumacher at +1.630.320.3900. Further syndicated studies are envisioned in other areas of health IT in the coming months. Visit User Centric at HIMSS 2009 ( in Chicago - Booth #3382.

About User Centric

User Centric is a global user experience research and design firm that focuses on making technology easier to use. Our services include user research, user interface design consulting, information architecture, usability testing, user interface evaluations, eye tracking, and remote data gathering. Learn more about us at User Centric is a founding partner in the User Experience Alliance (

Press contact: Pam Stoffregen-Gay, 630-320-3922

SOURCE User Centric, Inc.
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