Mountain Bikes and EMR Usability

KLAS research suggests that EMR usability is reliant on provider and vendor partnerships.

Spring is here in Utah. The warming air and greening mountainsides beckon me to hop on my bicycle and hit the trails. As I look at my ancient mountain bike, however, I feel more inspired to hit the bike shop for a replacement. Despite the cost, wouldn’t the latest in lightweight, shock-absorbing, two-wheeled technology provide a better off-road experience? And yet, a glance in the mirror sends a less attractive, but more obvious, message: Your bike isn’t your biggest performance barrier. First, try losing 20 or 30 pounds from your own frame. All your bike needs right now is a tune-up and someone to actually ride it.

This train of thought reminds me of our recent research on EMR usability. Meaningful use has EMRs selling like hot cakes, but critics say that these systems often get in the way of patient care and that vendors are too busy chasing sales and government certification. Our conversations with providers, however, suggest that most EMRs are already usable at their core—or at least have the potential to be. These conversations also suggest that the most significant levers for improving usability lie in the willingness and ability of providers and vendors to partner together to optimize configurations and coach users.

Specific EMR platforms do provide different starting points, and vendors vary widely in their approaches to helping clients (athenahealth, Cerner, Epic, and Greenway rise to the top). It is clear, however, that the solution for providers—and overweight mountain bikers—is more complicated than looking over the fence at the neighbors’ shiny new wheels.

What has your experience been with EMR usability? Let your voice be heard and fill out a KLAS evaluation.

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