Recent public discussion and several studies indicate that some of the information systems used in healthcare have a range of deficiencies that make professional clinicians work slower and more complicated. Generally, this applies both to the public and private sectors. According to the Finnish Medical Association (FMA), the annual labor input for over 600 doctors gets wasted due to inefficient information systems . In Finland, public sector bureaucracy, the rigidity of information systems, and the lack of autonomy of one’s own work have been found to reduce doctors’ motivation to work in public healthcare . An important notion is that if the information systems currently used in Finnish healthcare functioned at the level they are expected to, the current number of doctors in the workforce would be sufficient for comprehensive healthcare for the Finnish population.
In the future, a majority of systems are going to be expected to streamline healthcare in a way that positively contributes to the increasing shortage of employees in the healthcare industry. The ease of use and functional quality of the system are important aspects in regards to clinicians. It is also important that information systems don’t make any compromises in regards to patient privacy and information security. The user perspective can sometimes be neglected in the development of health information systems because until now, there hasn’t been a proper method to monitor the clinician user experience in real-time as they perform their daily tasks.
By finding a proper way to securely monitor the work of healthcare professionals, we can spot the critical areas in need of development within information systems. Monitoring working processes increases awareness of the users, the user environment, and the working practices. By capturing critical events of use through monitoring, we can understand key problems and find out what the users expect and improve the systems more accurately, efficiently, and effectively. This is crucial information that will positively impact all stakeholders involved, such as the end-users (doctors, nurses, etc.), healthcare providers (hospitals, etc.), and information system vendors. The monitoring of different user groups generates a vast amount of recorded data and insights for analysis. The key here is to streamline process development by spotting the critical events in order of highest priority and using them to consistently make improvements and changes to the system allowing it to function at its highest potential for all end users.
This approach enables upcoming and existing information systems to better support all healthcare processes and services, specifically in an environment that is rapidly evolving. It also allows the healthcare industry as a whole to begin tackling the problems that are wasting the most amount of time, reversing the dreaded rising rate in physician burnouts. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a study done on 422 physicians reported that over 50 percent felt they were under time pressure and needed over 50 percent more time during their physical examinations with patients, which was a major contributor to physician burnouts . If we can achieve even a 10% decrease in the amount of time spent on needless procedures and tasks by removing issues and simplifying to save time, we can make a massive impact in the healthcare sector as a whole.
The focus area should be on practical monitoring solutions, usability, and user interface (UI) of patient information systems. The development of applications that enable collaboration and interaction between users is helpful to improve the way the system operates and functions as a whole. Health informatics usability and testing practices should match the operating environment and should be done with suitable tools.
Adusso’s UXBlackBox technology has proven to be successful when evaluating patient information systems in the public health sector and in the development of informatics tools in regard to EHRs. The UXBlackBox technology has also been used to develop usability of patient monitoring devices like the Carescape one, Carescape B850, and the Carescape B650 from GE Healthcare. This is a straightforward approach to evaluate systems and design solutions to meet actual end-user needs.