As medical practices and organizations continue to adopt electronic health records (EHRs) and find new and better ways to design their systems for ease of use, UX design has become a key part of the overall presentation of the health records. For patients, physicians, and other healthcare professionals, records need to be easily accessible and understandable. Intelligent UX design makes this possible, and drives the success and efficiency of healthcare organizations the world over. Here, we’ll take a closer look at EHR, what they are, and what type of access patients and physicians need to them. We’ll also talk about UX Design and how it affects the accessibility of EHR.
What are Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?
EHR is an electronic copy of a patient’s medical history that medical organizations and providers are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. The law requires “industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes” and “requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.” In other words, it requires healthcare practices to carefully maintain, protect, and make available to patients and other medical professionals as necessary health care records in electronic form. EHR improves patient care through:
- Reducing medical errors
- Improving medical record accuracy
- Increasing medical record clarity
- Making healthcare information more available
- Reducing duplication of tests
- Decreasing treatment delays
What is UX Design?
UX design is a method of creating products from the viewpoint of users. UX design helps users experience meaningful and relevant actions when they visit your EHR database, or need to find or request certain medical records. Keep in mind that UX design for EHR is not only geared at patients, but also physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. UX design brings together the branding, design, usability, and function of your electronic healthcare records, creating an easy interface for everyone who needs to use it.
UX stands for “user experience” and may be used with User Interface Design, which is a part of UX design. However, UX design refers to the whole process of acquiring and integrating an EHR system, looking at the entire process of acquisition to installation to design to functionality. UX designers for EHR must consider each and every step of the process that physicians, patients, and other healthcare professionals go through to access and use medical records for organizations. UX focuses on the actual experiences produced by healthcare situations and the different types of access people need to EHR.
This includes consideration of how a person would start access and finish access, including initial intentions and final thoughts on how the process might be improved. EHR system maintenance is also a large part of UX design. UX design covers all aspects of what makes up an excellent user experience, as well, including making the interaction enjoyable and simple. UX design includes:
How Can UX Design Help EHR?
EHR is a fact of life for healthcare providers and patients. We rely heavily on EHR to determine the patient histories that in turn define future treatments and safe procedures and recommendations for patients. Without past records, a true accounting of and suggestions for patient healthcare is very difficult. An excellent EHR is key for proper insurance billing, patient understanding of the healthcare process and what they are paying for at each step of a procedure, as well as government-required accessibility and ease.
Physicians and nurses spend a large part of each day entering EHR information into their systems -- the faster they can complete this necessary part of their work, the faster they can move on to helping patients. On average, physicians in the United States spend about four hours entering patient notes into EHRs -- making this experience easier and quicker through excellent UX design can save patients, physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals the precious time they need for patient care. UX design also ties into the marketing piece of your website, combining everything your organization or practice needs to make daily work easier.
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