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On April 21 I’ve been invited to testify again on behalf of patients at a meeting organized by the Office of the National Coordinator for health IT.  As we did here twice last year, let’s discuss what the meeting should here.

Here’s the document they sent.  Comments, please!

Certification/Adoption Workgroup
April 21, 2011
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m./Eastern Time
Renaissance Washington Dupont Circle Hotel
1143 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Instructions and Questions for Panelists


Testimony from this hearing will help the Adoption/Certification Workgroup formulate recommendations to the HIT Policy Committee and the National Coordinator on usability of EHRs.  If you have any questions, please contact Marc Probst or Larry Wolf, Chair and Member of the Workgroup: or

Format of Presentation:

The Workgroup respectfully requests that panelists limit their prepared remarks to five (5) minutes.  This will allow the Workgroup to ask questions of the panelists and allow every presenter time to present his or her remarks.  We have found that this creates a conversation for a full understanding of the issue. You may submit as much detailed written testimony as you would like, and the Workgroup members will have reviewed this material in detail before the hearing.  PowerPoints will not be needed.

Pre-Presentation Questions/Themes:

The questions below represent areas the Workgroup intends to explore at the hearing.  Please feel free to use them in preparing your oral and written testimony; the Workgroup recognizes that certain questions may not apply to all presenters.

The Workgroup respectfully requests panelists to provide written testimony no later than April 15, 2011. Please submit the testimony to Judy Sparrow at


Panel 1: Care Provider Perspective

  • How do clinicians generally view usability? For disabled physicians, what are their specific needs/issues in using EHR systems?
  • What aspects of use/workflow/device interaction/data presentation are the most important regarding clinicians’ EHR systems?
  • How do providers define what are mission critical usability issues, and what are ease-of-use usability issues?

Panel 2: Consumer Perspective <== This is where our input is requested

  • To what extent has usability of EHRs helped in providing patients access to their health information and engaging patients in their care? Particularly in:
    • Getting an electronic copy of their health information upon request
    • Getting an electronic copy of discharge instructions
    • Getting a clinical summary
    • Getting electronic access to their health information
    • Being provided educational resources specific to their care  needs
  • To what extent is usability of health information technology, by care providers, an issue for health care consumers? Has it supported better interactions with the care providers?
  • Do consumers believe that health IT is safe? How does usability factor into that perception?
  • What aspects of health IT usability would consumers like to see improved?

Panel 3: Technology Developer Perspective

  • What is current industry practice in testing for usability?
  • What is current industry perspective for designing systems to ensure usability?
  • What are the biggest usability challenges being experienced?
  • What voluntary steps can industry take to improve usability? What does the industry see as the government’s role?

Panel 4: Measuring & Improving Usability

  • What is the state of art of measuring usability? What can and cannot be measured?
  • What are the areas of usability measurement which we know enough to be helpful to industry?
  • What areas of usability measurement are still theoretical and not ready to be applied in a commercial setting?
  • Can usability be measured in a way that does not stifle innovation?

Panel 5: Options for Creating a Market around Usability

  • Can transparent reporting improve usability? Will this promote or hamper innovation?
  • What other actions/programs can improve usability?
  • How can the end user better appreciate the challenge of usability at the time of purchase?
  • What voluntary steps can industry take to create a market around usability?
  • What uniform information can be provided across all vendor products?


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